Plaintiff loses an appeal to the Second Circuit, and sues the Attorneys in Jackson v Law Offs. of Peter Sverd, PLLC 2024 NY Slip Op 30413(U) February 6, 2024 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: Index No. 153586/2023 Judge: Lisa S. Headley.

The Court found that there was no support for the legal malpractice claim.

“In the motion, the defendant argues, inter alia, that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim for legal malpractice since the plaintiff must assert that her attorney’s conduct “fell below the ordinary and reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the profession.” Defendant argues the plaintiff failed to state that the defendant’s conduct breached the standard of care for attorneys because the plaintiff claims that the defendant “failed to gather new facts on appeal, which cannot serve as a basis for an appeal.” According to the Retainer Agreement, the defendant would render services in connection with an appeal of the Eastern District matter to the Second Circuit, wherein defendant filed a notice of appearance and initiated an appeal to the
Second Circuit. On July 14, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the plaintiff’s petition for an appeal. (See, NYSCEF Doc. No. 26). Defendant further contends that during their legal representation of plaintiff, defendant did not make any promises of a result, or an outcome of the appeal.”

“Here, the Court finds that dismissal is warranted because plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state a cognizable cause of action for professional malpractice and breach of contract. As it pertains to the legal malpractice claim, “[d]ecisions regarding the evidentiary support for a motion or the legal theory of a case are commonly strategic decisions and a client’s disagreement with its attorney’s strategy does not support a malpractice claim, even if the strategy had its flaws.” Brookwood Companies, Inc. v. Alston & Bird LLP, 146 A.D.3d 662 (1st Dep’t 2017). In order to survive dismissal, the complaint must show that “but for counsel’s alleged malpractice, the plaintiff would not have sustained some actual ascertainable damages.” Franklin v. Winard, 199 A.D.2d 220 (1st Dep’t 1993 [internal citations omitted]. In addition, “it must be established that the attorney failed
to exercise that degree of care, skill, and diligence commonly possessed and exercised by a member of the legal community. It must also be established that the attorney’s negligence was a proximate cause of the loss sustained, and that the plaintiff incurred damages as a direct result of the attorney’s actions.” Hwang v. Bierman, 206 A.D.2d 360 (2d Dep’t 1994) [internal citations comitted]. “[W]hen a frustrated litigant complained of counsel’s omissions,’[p]laintiff’s remedy relies on prima facie proof that she would have succeeded’[.]” Pellegrino v. File, 291 A.D.2d 60, 63 (1st Dep’t 2002).

Here, this Court finds plaintiff’s arguments do not prevail, and even if the defendant
executed a different strategy, and whether the defendant had submitted certain documents, facts, or allegations at the time of the appeal, that would not have rendered plaintiff a more favorable outcome on her appeal. The plaintiff’s grievances or disappointment in the outcome of her appeal handled by the defendant does not constitute legal malpractice.”

Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
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.