Generally speaking, there has been a stark split between the First and Second Departments over the standard for a Judiciary Law § 487 claim.  In the First Department there was a requirement of a “chronic and extreme pattern of legal delinquency” and in the Second Department a single egregious incident of deceit was sufficient.  Amtrust N. Am., Inc. v Pavloff  2021 NY Slip Op 31062(U) April 2, 2021 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 156855/2019 Judge: Shawn T. Kelly seems to upset that distinction.

“Defendants further allege that Am Trust’s failure to establish a pattern of collusion of deceit renders the cause of action deficient. In opposition, Am Trust contends that one instance of intentional misrepresentation is sufficient to maintain a cause of action under Judiciary Law § 487.
Defendants rely upon Solow Mgmt. Corp. v Seltzer, in which the First Department stated that because the complaint “set forth but one arguable misrepresentation by defendant and accordingly does not allege a cognizable claim under Judiciary Law§ 487, which provides
recourse only where there is a chronic and extreme pattern of legal delinquency (see Jaroslawicz v Cohen, 12 AD3d 160 [2004]; Havel! v Islam, 292 AD2d 210 [2002]).” (Solow Mgmt. Corp. v Seltzer, 18 AD3d 399, 399-400, 795 NYS2d448 [2005]).

However, the Second Circuit specifically declined to follow the Solow line of cases, stating that the requirement that the plaintiff in a section 487 action show “a chronic and extreme pattern” of legal delinqulency by the defendant “appears nowhere in the text of the statute,
however, and other courts have found attorneys liable under the statute for a single intentionally deceitful or collusive act.” (Amalfitano v Rosenberg, 533 F.3d 117, 123~24 (2d Cir.), certified question accepted, 11 NY3d 728, 894 NE2d 643 (2008), and certified question answered, 12 NY3d 8, 903 NE2d 265 [2009]). The statute’s plain language does not establish that a pattern of deceit. is required to maintain a cause of action under section 487.

The deceit required to establish a section 487 claim requires the making of an affirmative false statement with knowledge of falsity and with an affirmative intent to deceive. (see Bill Birds v Stein Law Firm, P.C., 126 NYS3d .50, 53 (2020]). Defendants have not established
Am Trust’s failure to state a cause of action, on the contrary, the factual allegations are sufficient to demonstrate that Pavloff s alleged, misrepresentation, though limited in context to the question
of whether she had reviewed or received the Conservation Order, was not a one-off statement, but rather included conversations she had with the court as well as further representations made under oath while being deposed. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Judiciary Law § 487 claim is denied.”

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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.