One Edgewater Equities LLC v Law Firm of Hall & Hall LLP     2022 NY Slip Op 31919(U) June 16, 2022 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: Index No. 158110/2021 Judge: Barry R. Ostrager stands for the simple proposition that the failure to file a notice of appeal is a departure from good practice, and successor attorney, who came into the case long after the 30 day notice of appeal period had passed cannot be blamed.

“The Court declines to dismiss the first cause of action for legal malpractice against the three defendants. It is undisputed that neither the associate nor anyone else at the firm filed a
Notice of Appeal to preserve the client’s rights, which was well within the scope of the Retainer Agreement. Efforts by successor counsel were limited as a result to motions before the same trial judge who had sua sponte issued the restraint, which was subject to a different standard than the standard for an appeal. While it is unclear whether plaintiff can ultimately prove that they would have prevailed “but for” the alleged malpractice of the defendants, enough has been shown at the pleading stage. Since the motion was on notice, the decision that included the restraint could have been challenged on appeal. And successor counsel was ultimately able to get the restraint vacated. However, successor counsel could not pursue a prompt appeal of the August 31, 2018 order because he was not substituted in until April 8, 2019, well beyond the 30-day deadline to file a notice of appeal. Nor can the Court find as a matter of law at this stage of the litigation that the manner in which successor counsel litigated the case was an “intervening cause” that relieved the Hall firm of liability. Damages have been sufficiently stated at the pleading stage. Therefore, based on the liberal construction of the pleadings and defendants’ failure to produce documentary evidence that establishes a defense as a matter of law, dismissal of the claim is not warranted and plaintiff can pursue discovery. Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 87-88 (1994). “

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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.