It’s often said (and the PJI specifically covers this) that an attorney is not a guarantor of a good result. The attorney has to use reasonable efforts and not to depart from the standard of practice. Lopez v Pasternack, Tilker, Ziegler, Walsh, Stanton & Romano, LLP
2024 NY Slip Op 30318(U) January 18, 2024 Supreme Court, Kings County Docket Number: Index No. 514717/2023 Judge: Richard J. Montelione is a decision highlighting that principle.

” On or about February 11,2014, Decedent Alba Morales hired defendant Pasternack, Tilker, Ziegler~ Walsh, Stanton &Romano; LLP (”the Pasternack Firm”) to represent her in connection with her Workers’ Compensation claims. Defendant Matthew Funk, Esq. was the primary attorney handling her case. The complaint alleges that the Pasternack Firm and defendant Funk held themselves out to be experts in the field of Workers’ Compensation claims.

Ms. Morales’ Workers’ Compensation claims against her former employer Graphnet, Inc arose out of her September 200l work, related injuries and/or illness, Ms. Morales was employed by Graphnet,1nc. in September2001 to clean debris and ashes in buildings neat the World Trade Center in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Consequently. Ms. Morales developed gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD “) and interstitial lung disease.”

“Defendants submitted the Section ‘.32 Agreement to the Workers’ Compensation Board on April 15, 2019. A Workers’ Compensation hearing Was held on July 22. 2019 before Judge Schwartz. Judge Schwartz disapproved the Settlement without preJudice to return the case to the calendar once Ms. Morales obtained the requisite Letter from the World Ttade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”). Ms. Morales passed away on July30, 2020 due to her work-related iJlness. Plaintiff states in the complaint that upon Ms. Morales’ death, she was no longer eligible to receive compensation for the Section 32 Agreement, as she was no longer receiving medical care

The complaint alleges that defendants’ failure to obtain the Letter and finalize the settlement prior· to Ms. Morales’ death constituted a deviation from the good and accepted standards of legal practice in litigating Ms. Morales Workers’ Compensation Claim. However, the record shows that defendants made numerous attempts to obtain the Letter from the WTCHP. On the day of the hearing, July 22, 2019 Fischer Brothers, Esqs. ; the firm representing Graphnet; LLC and their insurance company, expeditiously sent a letter to the WTCHP requesting the Letter and sent a copy of said request to defendants (NYSCEF #8}. Defendants followed up. with Fischer Brothers, Esqs. via email om October 18, 2019 inquiring as to status of the letter (NYSCEF #9). An attorney from Fischer Brothers; Esq. and a:n attorney from the Pasternak’s Firm, Rochelle Jean-Baptiste (“Mr. Jean-Baptiste;;), confirmed via email that they would attempt to call the WTCHP regarding the letter (NYSCEF #9)”

“Accordingly; accepting the allegations in the complaint as true; and the additional facts by undisputed documentary evidence of the. attempts to obtain the Letter, plaintiff fails to state a cause of action for legal malpractice as there are no facts that show that defendants did not exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession, that their breach proximatey caused the settlement to not be finalized, and that Ms. Morales’ damages were actual and ascertainable, Marinelli v. Sullivan Papa in Block, McGrath& Cannavo, P.C., supra.”

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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.