Besides the question of whether there was continuous representation, Basile v Law Offs. of Neal Brickman, P.C. 2022 NY Slip Op 06079 Decided on November 01, 2022 Appellate Division, First Department considers the question of how the defendant law office handled its move and forwarding of mail.

“The legal malpractice claim may not be barred by the three-year statute of limitations (CPLR 214[6]). Plaintiff contends that the claim was tolled by the continuous representation doctrine based on alleged emails and telephone conversations about collecting on plaintiff’s money judgment against the judgment debtor following its entry in 2010, at which time the judgment debtor did not have sufficient assets to satisfy the judgment. Defendants, however, assert that there was no continuous representation because plaintiff had no communication with them concerning collecting on the unsatisfied judgment until August 2019, when the limitations period on the instant claim had expired. These factual contentions concerning whether defendant continued to represent plaintiff during the relevant time period so as to toll the limitations period give rise to factual issues that cannot be resolved in this pre-answer motion to dismiss (see Boesky v Levine, 193 AD3d 403 [1st Dept 2021]; Johnson v Law Off. of Kenneth B. Schwartz, 145 AD3d 608, 612 [1st Dept 2016]).

Furthermore, the complaint’s allegations are sufficient to state a cause of action for legal malpractice. Plaintiff alleges that defendants were negligent in not objecting to the judgment debtor’s bankruptcy proceeding in 2015, which resulted in a discharge order that barred plaintiff from collecting on his money judgment against her. Defendants argue that they did not breach their duty to plaintiff by not intervening in the bankruptcy proceeding because they did not receive notice of the proceeding. Defendants submit the bankruptcy petition, which, in naming plaintiff as a creditor, included an outdated address for defendants and omitted the name of defendants’ law firm or a suite number. These undisputed facts, however, are not sufficient to find as a matter of law that defendants did not breach their duty to plaintiff. Defendants relocated to their new office in September 2014 and the judgment debtor filed her bankruptcy petition in January 2015, three months later. The bankruptcy petition included the name of the attorney who had assisted in plaintiff’s underlying action against the judgment debtor. At the very least, a factual issue exists as to whether the notice of the bankruptcy proceeding to object on plaintiff’s behalf was forwarded to defendants, which cannot be resolved at this juncture. As to proximate cause, contrary to defendants’ contention, proof of the collectability on a judgment is not an essential element of the legal malpractice claim, and arises after the “case within the case” has been proven (Lindenman v Kreitzer, 7 AD3d 30, 35 [1st Dept 2004]).”

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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.