One aspect of the professional – client relationship is the repetitive, year over year nature in which events keep recurring, and the work keeps being performed.  Helzen Assoc. LLC v Katz  2020 NY Slip Op 33508(U)
October 22, 2020 Supreme Court, New York County  Docket Number: 655561/2019 Judge: Carol R. Edmead is a case in which client pays a specific tax year after year only to find out that no tax need have been paid.  How far back can the accountants be liable?

“Plaintiff alleges that defendants erroneously advised plaintiff that it was liable for NewYork City unincorporated business tax (UBI), and plaintiff paid that tax in reliance upon defendants’ advice, as reflected in the returns prepared by defendants, starting with Helzen’ s incorporation in 2002. Plaintiff received refunds for the amounts of UBI tax paid for the years 2015 -2017, after the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) informed defendants that the UBI tax was not owed, and defendants filed Form 452, amending the returns for those three years. ”

“Defendant’s advice to Katz to write a letter in furtherance of plaintiff’s claims for refunds for the Prior Years constitutes advice on how to proceed and is some evidence of continuing representation with respect to the Prior Years.

While each annual tax return involves a separate contractual engagement, defendants have not presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they did not engage in any corrective or remedial services in connection with the overpayments in the Prior Years (see Lemle v Regen, Benz & MacKenzie, C.P.A ‘s, P.C., 165 AD3d 414, 415 [1st Dept 2018]). The statute of limitations is tolled under the continuous representation doctrine only for “so long as the defendant continues to advise the client in connection with the particular transaction which is the subject of the action and not merely during the continuation of a general professional relationship” (Booth v Kriegel, 36 AD3d at 314).

Plaintiff is entitled to discovery on the underlying issues, including whether defendants made any application for refunds or performed continuing services with respect to the Prior Years. “

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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.