When does the statute of limitations commence for a legal malpractice claim?  In short, it commences on the date of the mistake.  It can be tolled by continuous representation.  In Ross v Mashkanta, LLC  2021 NY Slip Op 32873(U) December 23, 2021 Supreme Court, Kings County
Docket Number: Index No. 508310/2019 Judge: Carl J. Landicino, the limits of continuous representation were tested, and plaintiff lost.

“In relation to the related foreclosure action, the Plaintiff claims that Mascolo failed to appear on a summary judgment motion which was granted on Plaintiffs default. Summary judgment, in the related litigation, was granted on default against the Plaintiff on July 14, 2010.
The Plaintiff also claims that these failures subjected the Plaintiff to a judgment of foreclosure in relation to his property. The Plaintiff contends that Mascolo failed to appear or oppose a motion/application for judgment of foreclosure. The Plaintiff contends that, as a consequence, a judgment of foreclosure and sale was issued on June 20, 2012. The instant proceeding was commenced against Mascolo on April 12 2019, more than six years after judgment was entered in the foreclosure litigation. The Plaintiff alleges that the interval between the award of the judgment and commencement of this proceeding is irrelevant because the continuous representation doctrine applies.

The doctrine of continuous representation applies when there is “clear indicia of an ongoing, continuous, developing, and dependent relationship between the client and the attorney which often includes an attempt by the attorney to rectify an alleged act of malpractice” (Stein Industries, Inc. v. Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, 149 AD3d 788, 789, 51 N.Y.S.3d 183, 185 [2d Dept 2017] quoting Luk Lamellen U Kupplungbau GmbH v. Lerner, 166 AD2d 505, 506- 507, 560 N.Y.S.2d 787 [2d Dept 1990]). However, the Plaintiff has repeatedly represented that his relationship with Mascolo terminated in November of 2012, when he retained new counsel to represent him in the foreclosure litigation. The Plaintiff alleged that,

…subsequent to defendant Mascolo allowing the action in foreclosure to go to default judgment and ultimately to a judgment of foreclosure and sale which was filed July 3, 2012, defendants Levy and Nau substituted in for third-party defendant Mascolo.
As a consequence of Defendant Mascolo’s failure to represent his interests, in or about November 2012, Plaintiff retained Defendants Levy and Nau, doing business as Levy and Nau PC, to represent him in the action brought against him by Mashkanta, and in that capacity, to move in that action to stay the foreclosure and sale. Plaintiff was unaware of any prior history of relationships and/or transactions among Mashkanta, Mascolo, Levy and Nau at the time he retained Levy and Nau to represent him.

(See First Amended Verified Complaint at paragraph 61-62, NYSCEF Doc. No. 12, 13 1).

Accordingly, the doctrine of continuous representation is inapplicable here. This proceeding was commenced after the statutory limitation period expired. Therefore, the ninth cause of action for malpractice is dismissed.”

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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.