Lest we forget the snow and ice of winter, here on a lovely August morning, Bianco v Law Offs. of Yuri Prakhin  2020 NY Slip Op 07849 [189 AD3d 1326] December 23, 2020 Appellate Division, Second Department brings back the slippery chilly days of January.

“The plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell on ice on a subway staircase in Brooklyn on January 21, 2014. Shortly thereafter, she retained the defendants Law Office of Yuriy Prahkin and Yuriy Prahkin (hereinafter together the Prahkin defendants) to represent her in a personal injury action relating to the fall. The Prahkin defendants served a timely notice of claim on the City of New York, but failed to do so with respect to the New York City Transit Authority (hereinafter NYCTA). In July 2014, the plaintiff retained the defendants Schneider Law Group and William Z. Schneider (hereinafter together the Schneider defendants) as successor counsel to the Prahkin defendants. The Schneider defendants, in turn, retained the defendants Steven C. Kletzkin, PLLC, and Steven C. Kletzkin (hereinafter together the Kletzkin defendants) as trial counsel representing the plaintiff in an action against the NYCTA.

[*2] In February 2015, the Schneider defendants served an untimely notice of claim upon NYCTA. In March 2015, the Kletzkin defendants commenced an action on the plaintiff’s behalf against the NYCTA to recover damages for the personal injuries she allegedly sustained as a result of the slip and fall. In an order dated April 15, 2016, the Supreme Court granted the NYCTA’s motion to dismiss the complaint in the personal injury action against the NYCTA “with prejudice, and no opposition submitted thereto.”

The plaintiff then commenced this action against the Prahkin defendants, the Schneider defendants, and the Kletzkin defendants, seeking to recover damages for legal malpractice and violations of Judiciary Law § 487. After issue was joined, the Kletzkin defendants and the Schneider defendants separately moved pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (1) and (7) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against each of them. In an order dated March 31, 2017, the Supreme Court, inter alia, granted the Kletzkin defendants’ motion and denied the Schneider defendants’ motion. The plaintiff appeals, and the Schneider defendants cross-appeal.”

“Here, the plaintiff adequately pleaded the cause of action alleging legal malpractice against the Kletzkin defendants and the Schneider defendants. Contrary to the contentions of those defendants, neither conclusively established that an application for leave to serve a late notice of [*3]claim or to deem the late notice of claim timely served upon the NYCTA nunc pro tunc would have been futile (see generally Matter of Newcomb v Middle Country Cent. Sch. Dist., 28 NY3d 455, 465 [2016]; Davis v Isaacson, Robustelli, Fox, Fine, Greco & Fogelgaren, 284 AD2d 104, 105 [2001]).

Contrary to the Kletzkin defendants’ contention, the complaint adequately states a cause of action to recover damages for violation of Judiciary Law § 487. Contrary to the Schneider defendants’ contention, the cause of action alleging violation of Judiciary Law § 487 is not duplicative of the cause of action alleging legal malpractice. “A violation of Judiciary Law § 487 requires an intent to deceive (see Judiciary Law § 487), whereas a legal malpractice claim is based on negligent conduct” (Moormann v Perini & Hoerger, 65 AD3d 1106, 1108 [2009]; see Bill Birds, Inc. v Stein Law Firm, P.C., 164 AD3d 635, 637 [2018], affd 35 NY3d 173 [2020]).”

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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.