A commonly recurring theme in legal malpractice is the application of the privity requirement. That requirement basically (always with some exceptions) prohibits legal malpractice claims against an attorney with whom the Plaintiff does not have privity of contract. One common subset arises when the attorney represents an entity, and where the individual members or shareholders have a dispute and thought the attorney represented them as well.

Blank v Petrosyants 2023 NY Slip Op 33932(U) November 1, 2023 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: Index No. 517568/19 Judge: Leon Ruchelsman is an example.

“In 2013 the plaintiffs invested sums of money with the defendants· to open a restaurant and catering hall in Queens County. The plaintiffs allege they paid money and entered into a shareholder agreement. Pursuant to the agreement the defendant
Zhan Petrosyants was a sixty percent owner. and the plaintiffs :Shubaderov and Egorov were each twenty percent owners. The lawsuit alleges the defendants diverted the funds to other sources depriving them of any return upon their investments.”

” On January 30:, 2014 the defendant Zhan Petrosyants entered into a retainer agreement with Akiva Ofshtein. There is no basis to question the authenticity of the agreement and thus serves as prima facie evidence that only Petrosyants hired Ofshtein. Further, the terms bf the agreement, and plaintiff’s questions regarding some of its curious provisions, 90 not raise any questions whether the plaintiffs were also included as parties to the agreement. Thus, there is no agreement wherein Ofshtein.
agreed to represent the plaintiffs.”

” The only evidence supporting the existence of any attorney client relationship is
the subjective beliefs of the plaintiffs. Those beliefs fail to raise any questions about the existence of such relationship. Therefore, the motion seeking summary judgement dismissing all claims against Ofshtein is granted.”

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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.