May Dock Lane, LLC v Harras Bloom & Archer, LLP 2023 NY Slip Op 06244 Decided on December 6, 2023 Appellate Division, Second Department illustrates the depth to which the Courts and the AD will go in considering a CPLR 3211 motion. We submit that this depth is not matched in medical malpractice cases, nor in personal injury or even commercial litigation matters.

“The plaintiff commenced this action, inter alia, to recover damages for legal malpractice against, among others, Harras Bloom & Archer, LLP, and Paul Bloom (hereinafter together the defendants). The plaintiff alleged, among other things, that it retained the defendants to assist with its purchase of certain real property, which the plaintiff intended to subdivide into four lots, and that due to the defendants’ deficient representation, the plaintiff was only able to subdivide the property into three lots. The plaintiff also alleged that due to the defendants’ deficient representation, the owners of adjacent property refused to honor an easement to use a dock and beach area on their property for two of the three subdivided lots on the property acquired by the plaintiff. The defendants moved, inter alia, pursuant to CPLR 3211(a) to dismiss the cause of action alleging legal malpractice insofar as asserted against them. In an order entered September 29, 2021, the Supreme Court, among other things, denied that branch of the defendants’ motion. The defendants appeal.”

“Here, even accepting the facts as alleged in the amended complaint to be true and according the plaintiff the benefit of every favorable inference (see Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d at 87-88), the amended complaint failed to state a cause of action for legal malpractice. To the extent the amended complaint alleged that due to the defendants’ deficient representation, the plaintiff could not make use of an easement on the adjacent property for two of the three subdivided lots, the plaintiff’s allegations were conclusory and speculative (see 126 Main St., LLC v Kriegsman, 218 AD3d 524). Moreover, while the amended complaint alleged that a typo in an assignment of easement prepared by the defendants proximately caused the plaintiff to be subjected to a separate lawsuit regarding the easement, the defendants’ evidentiary submissions demonstrated that the typo was not a basis for the separate action.

Furthermore, the evidentiary submissions demonstrated that the plaintiff chose to submit a new proposal to subdivide its property into three lots following a suggestion made during a Planning Board meeting to consider changing the plan from a four-lot subdivision to a three-lot subdivision. Thus, the defendants demonstrated that material facts alleged in the amended complaint with respect to the allegation that the defendants proximately caused the plaintiff to only be able to subdivide the property into three lots were not facts at all, and that no significant dispute exists regarding them (see 50 Clarkson Partners, LLC v Old Republic Natl. Tit. Ins. Co., 206 AD3d 956, 958). Moreover, the amended complaint failed to set forth facts sufficient to allege that the defendants’ representation proximately caused the plaintiff to incur expenses associated with delays in the approval of the plaintiff’s application for subdivision.”

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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.