Servider v Law Offs. of Cervini, Ronemus & Vilensky 2024 NY Slip Op 30160(U)
January 12, 2024 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: Index No. 161166/2022 Judge: Mary V. Rosado is a pro-se legal malpractice case which comes after plaintiff has settled a case, and then wriggled to get out of the settlement. These legal malpractice cases rarely succeed, especially after a settlement.

“Beginning in October 2014, Plaintiff retained Cervini to represent him in an action
captioned Philip Servinder et al v. The City of New York, Index No. 160683/2014 (the “Underlying Matter”) to recover damages for alleged personal injuries he suffered while working for the New York City Sanitation Department (NYSCEF [)oc. IS at 5). Cervini represented Plaintiff in the Underlying Matter from October 2014 to October 2015 (NYSCEF Doc. 21). R&V were briefly retained to represent Plaintiff in the Underlying matter beginning in October 2015, pursuant to a signed Consent 10 Change of Attorney form dated October 25, 2015 (NYSCEF Doc. 18). Cervini resumed representation of Plaintiff pursuant to a subsequent Consent to Change Attorney form dated February 3, 2016 (NYSCEF Doc. 19).
The Underlying Mauer was resolved pursuant to a signed Stipulation of Settlement dated April 23, 2019 (the “Settlement Agreement”) (NYSCEF Doc. 17). Subsequently, Plaintiff fired Cervini in December 2022 and proceeded pro se in an attempt to invalidate the Settlement Agreement (NYSCEF Doc. 14 at 7). Plaintiffs motion to vacate the Stipulation of Settlement was denied by the Decision and Order of Hon. Alexander M. Tisch, J.S.C. dated May 24, 2021 and unanimously affirmed by the First Department (Servinder v City of New York, 212 AD3d 475 lst Dept 2023).”

Here, Plaintiff fails to plead that R& V’s negligence was the proximate cause of Plaintiffs
alleged loss. The First Department has held that to establish prox.in1atc cause on a claim for legal malpractice, the “plaintiff must demonstrate that but for the attorney’s negligence, [they] would have prevailed in the underlying mailer or would not have sustained any ascertainable damages” (Brooks v, Lewin, 21AD3d 73 1, 734 [1st Dept 2005]). Further, “speculation on future events are insufficient to establish that fa] defendant lawyer’s malpractice, if any, was the proximate cause of any such loss” (Id. at 735). Even given the benefit of every possible favorable inference, Plaintiffs Complaint fails to adequately allege that but for R&V’s alleged malpractice, Plaintiff
would have prevailed in his underlying actions or would not have sustained any damages. As such, R&V”s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs malpractice claims against it 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.