Privity of Contract is a doctrine which applies to legal malpractice representations even while it withers as a general principle in product liability cases and elsewhere.  Loss of standing in Bankruptcy often comes up as well.  In National Air Cargo, Inc. v Jenner & Block, LLP
2022 NY Slip Op 01900 Appellate Division, Fourth Department, both come up.

“In appeal No. 3, we conclude that the court properly dismissed the professional negligence/legal malpractice cause of action against JB, insofar as asserted by NAC, on the ground of judicial estoppel. The “doctrine of judicial estoppel may bar a party from pursuing claims which were not listed in a previous bankruptcy proceeding” (Moran Enters., Inc. v Hurst, 160 AD3d 638, 640 [2d Dept 2018], lv denied 32 NY3d 908 [2018], rearg denied 32 NY3d 1195 [2019]; see Popadyn v Clark Constr. & Prop. Maintenance Servs., Inc., 49 AD3d 1335, 1336 [4th Dept 2008]). Here, at the time NAC filed for bankruptcy, it failed to list a potential legal malpractice claim against JB as an asset and obtained a bankruptcy discharge. We conclude that “[t]he failure of . . . [NAC] to disclose a cause of action as an asset in a prior bankruptcy proceeding, the existence of which [NAC] knew or should have known existed at the time, deprive[s] [NAC] of the legal capacity to sue subsequently on that cause of action” (Green v Associated Med. Professionals of NY, PLLC, 111 AD3d 1430, 1432 [4th Dept 2013] [internal quotation marks omitted]). Contrary to the court’s determination, however, JB failed to establish that the doctrine of judicial estoppel applies with respect to NACH or Alf, because JB failed to establish as a matter of law that NACH or Alf, as non-debtors, were in privity with NAC (see In re Avaya Inc., 573 BR 93, 103-104 [SD NY 2017]).

Nonetheless, with respect to appeal No. 3, we conclude that JB is entitled to dismissal of the professional negligence/legal malpractice cause of action against it, insofar as asserted by NACH and Alf, for failure to state a cause of action (see CPLR 3211 [a] [7]). Plaintiffs’ complaint does not allege the existence of an attorney-client relationship between JB and NACH or Alf (see Keness v Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, P.C., 105 AD3d 812, 813 [2d Dept 2013]) and, instead, alleges only that JB gave negligent advice to NAC. While NACH and Alf submitted an affidavit of Alf attempting to remedy that deficiency, the affidavit does not specifically address JB’s representation of NACH or Alf in the matter giving rise to this lawsuit (cf. Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 87-88 [1994]). In light of our determination, we do not reach the issue whether JB provided documentary evidence that ” ‘utterly refute[d] [NACH’s and Alf’s] factual allegations, conclusively establishing a defense as a matter of law’ ” (Matter of Mixon v Wickett, 196 AD3d 1094, 1095 [4th Dept 2021], quoting Goshen, 98 NY2d at 326).”

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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.