Generally speaking, fraud claims in a legal malpractice setting are dismissed as duplicitive of the legal malpractice claim.  For years, litigants have used the longer statute of limitations period for fraud as a way around a stale legal malpractice claim along with a discovery onset of the statute.  In addition, fraud allows for greater damage calculations.  Courts have sometimes said that any claim against a professional requires that it be translated into malpractice, rather than fraud.  Federal Ins. Co. v Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer, LLP  2021 NY Slip Op 32305(U)  November 15, 2021 Supreme Court, New York County
Docket Number: Index No. 151093/2021 Judge: Shawn T. Kelly is that rare case where the claims survive dismissal.

“Plaintiff alleges that Lester Schwab made ( a) a false representation of fact to the Insured that the conflict check returned negative results; (b) defendants had knowledge of the falsity as shown by their internal e-mails; (c) the misrepresentation was made to induce plaintiff’s reliance
that Lester Schwab did not have any conflict of interest and so could continue its representation of the Insured in the underlying case; ( d) the Insured and its insurers justifiably relied on the misrepresentation as it is known that performing a conflict check in the context of litigation,
especially with multiple parties, is required to be done so that the Insured and its insurers could rely on Lester Schwab to advocate and protect their interests solely; and (e) the Insured and its insurers were injured by the reliance on the misrepresentation.

On this pre-Answer motion to dismiss, Plaintiff’s allegations are sufficient to sustain a fraud cause of action distinct from the legal malpractice claim. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied as to the fraud cause of action.”

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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.