Allen v Thompson  2022 NY Slip Op 31571(U) May 11, 2022 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: Index No. 160342/2020   Judge: Sabrina Kraus.  This legal malpractice case is based upon the allegation that Defendant Attorney “unilaterally and without Plaintiff’s consent, changed one word to the Agreement.”

“Plaintiff alleges the following facts in her complaint. On or about February 28, 2012, Plaintiff was terminated from Chanel, Inc. after nineteen (19) years of employment. Plaintiff
was offered a severance package of $21,789.20 and five ( 5) months of paid COBRA. Plaintiff was not satisfied with this arrangement and believed that her employment was terminated on the basis of discrimination. Plaintiff consulted with Defendant for guidance with regard to accepting the severance package, but still retained her legal right to file a discrimination lawsuit against Chanel, Inc. Defendant, as an attorney, agreed to represent Plaintiff, to negotiate a separation and release agreement (the “Agreement”) from Chanel, Inc., that would permit Plaintiff to retain her legal right to move forward on her discrimination claim and represent her with respect to that claim as well.

After a few weeks of negotiation, Defendant received the final draft of the Agreement from Chanel, Inc. The Agreement that Defendant received contained language that excluded
from the release any discrimination claims. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff at the time, Defendant unilaterally and without Plaintiffs consent, changed one word to the Agreement, changing the word “including” to “excluding” in reference to Plaintiff waiving any rights to sue for discrimination.

This one change to the Agreement made by Defendant, now made the Agreement read that Plaintiff released all of her rights as part of the settlement, except for any right arising under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law, thereby allowing Plaintiff to still file a lawsuit under these statutes. Plaintiff was sent this new document by overnight mail and was instructed by Defendant to initial each page and sign it. Defendant then directed Plaintiff to send the altered document back to Chanel, Inc.”

“Plaintiffs specific factual allegations of negligence, causation, and damages are sufficient to state a cause of action for legal malpractice. Pyne v. Block & Assoc, 305 A.D .2d 213 ( I st
Dep’t 2003). See Between The Bread Realty Corp. v. Salans Hertzfeld Heilbronn Christy & Viener, 290 A.D.2d at 381; DweckLaw Firm v. Mann, 283 A.D . .2d at 293;Greenwich v
Markhoff, 234 A.D.2d 112, 114 (1st Dep’t 1996); Gotay v. Breitbart, 14 A.D.3d 452,454 (1st Dep’t 2005). ”

“Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s motion for dismissal pursuant to CPLR §321 l(a)(7) is granted only as to the cause of action or breach of fiduciary duty. ”


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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.