It really does not matter how many times one goes to the well;  there is either water or no water.  In Armatas v Kestenbaum 2020 NY Slip Op 07846 [189 AD3d 1319] December 23, 2020 Appellate Division, Second Department a city attorney-defendant kept at it until the case was dismissed on all grounds, actual or academic.

“In 2008, the plaintiff commenced an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (hereinafter the District Court), alleging, inter alia, that the City of New York, the New York City Police Department, and individual police officers (hereinafter collectively the City defendants) violated his constitutional rights, violated 42 USC § 1983, and committed the state torts of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The District Court granted the City defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. In June 2016, the District Court barred the plaintiff from filing any additional papers in that action.

Thereafter, the plaintiff commenced this action in the Supreme Court, Queens County, against, among others, the defendant Qiana Smith-Williams (hereinafter the defendant), an attorney for the New York City Law Department who represented the City defendants in the federal action. The complaint alleges that the defendant violated Judiciary Law § 487 by, inter alia, filing fraudulent papers in the District Court, making false statements in the District Court, and representing clients that she knew were defrauding the District Court.

The defendant moved, among other things, pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (5) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as time-barred and as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. In an order dated February 7, 2017, the Supreme Court, inter alia, granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as time-barred to the extent that the complaint was based on events that occurred one year and 90 days prior to September 7, 2016. The court denied with leave to renew that branch of the [*2]defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel.

The defendant then renewed that branch of her motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel, and moved for leave to reargue that branch of her motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as time-barred. In an order dated September 12, 2017, the Supreme Court, upon renewal, granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Further, the court granted leave to reargue, and, upon reargument, in effect, vacated so much of the order dated February 7, 2017, as granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as time-barred to the extent that the complaint was based on events that occurred one year and 90 days prior to September 7, 2016, and thereupon granted that branch of the defendant’s motion in its entirety.

The plaintiff appeals from so much of the order as, upon renewal, granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. However, the plaintiff does not challenge the Supreme Court’s determination, upon reargument, that the action was time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s contention that the court should not have, upon renewal, granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her as precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel is academic.”

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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.