Could there be anything more ironic than a defendant attorney (accused of malpractice) losing the case because the defendant attorney failed to answer the complaint?

Rene v Abrams  2021 NY Slip Op 02431 Decided on April 21, 2021 Appellate Division, Second Department provides the short answer.

“In an action to recover damages for legal malpractice, the defendants appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Anna R. Anzalone, J.), entered March 27, 2019. The order, upon an amended order of the same court entered November 18, 2016, inter alia, granting the plaintiffs’ motion for leave to enter a default judgment against the defendants on the issue of liability upon their failure to appear or answer the complaint, and after an inquest on the issue of damages, directed payment of the sum of $9,000 in damages to the plaintiff Emmanuel Rene and payment of the sum of $1,000 in damages to the plaintiff Danica Drakes.

ORDERED that the appeal is dismissed, with costs.

An order which does not decide a motion made on notice is not appealable as of right (see CPLR 5701[a][2]; Sholes v Meagher, 100 NY2d 333, 335; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Brown, 186 AD3d 1195), and we decline to grant leave to appeal. While the defendants seek appellate review of the Supreme Court’s determination of damages after an inquest, they failed to include the relevant papers and transcripts to enable meaningful appellate review of that issue (see CPLR 5526; Rubio-Modica v Modica, 100 AD3d 979Keita v United Parcel Serv., 65 AD3d 571, 572).”

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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.