In what appears ended up as a pro-se breach of fiduciary duty law suit, in Pacelli v Peter L. Cedeno & Assoc., PC 2023 NY Slip Op 05448 Decided on October 26, 2023
Appellate Division, First Department Plaintiff loses the claim for failure to connect pecuniary loss with the allegations of a breach.

“Defendants were entitled to summary judgment dismissing the breach of fiduciary duty claim. Plaintiffs do not challenge the court’s determination that damages recoverable on the claim, which was based on defendants’ alleged legal malpractice in connection with their representation of plaintiff Atesa Pacelli in a matrimonial action, was limited to pecuniary damages (see Dombrowski v Bulson, 19 NY3d 347, 352 [2012]). Thus, defendants demonstrated their entitlement to summary judgment by submitting Atesa’s responses to interrogatories establishing that she sustained only emotional and psychological injuries as a result of the alleged breach of fiduciary duty.

In opposition, plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact, as plaintiffs proffered no evidence showing that Atesa sustained pecuniary damages, and adduced proof identifying only emotional and psychological injuries. Contrary to plaintiffs’ contention, the allegations in the complaint that Atesa incurred financial expenses as a result of having to seek medical treatment and retain new counsel due to defendants’ alleged misconduct are insufficient to defeat summary judgment, absent any supporting evidentiary proof (see CPLR 3212[b]; Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557, 562 [1980]; S.J. Capelin Assoc. v Globe Mfg. Corp., 34 NY2d 338, 343 [1974]). Plaintiffs’ contention that they could present such proof at trial is unavailing (see Di Sabato v Soffes, 9 AD2d 297, 301 [1st Dept 1959], app dismissed 11 AD2d 660 [1st Dept 1960]). Because plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether recoverable damages were incurred, summary judgment dismissing the claim should have been granted (see Sheth v New York Life Ins. Co., 308 AD2d 387, 387-388 [1st Dept 2003], lv denied 1 NY3d 505 [2003]).”

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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.