In many ways legal malpractice and medical malpractice are first cousins. In other ways, attorneys get a far more beneficial set of rules in how they are treated by their fellow attorneys in legal malpractice claim settings.

One example is illustrated in Dowlah v Professional Staff Congress 2024 NY Slip Op 02980 Decided on May 30, 2024 Appellate Division, First Department where plaintiff attempts to sue his union provided lawyer for legal malpractice.

“Plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim against his union-appointed attorney who represented him in arbitration is preempted by Federal labor law, as “attorneys who perform services for and on behalf of a union may not be held liable in malpractice to individual grievants where the services performed constitute part of the collective bargaining process” (Mamorella v Derkasch, 276 AD2d 152, 155 [4th Dept 2000]).

Plaintiff’s claims against his union, Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY), and its legal director, arising from their selection of an allegedly biased arbitrator are barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel based on this Court’s resolution of that issue in plaintiff’s prior appeals (see Matter of Dowlah v City Univ. of N.Y., 189 AD3d 533, 534 [1st Dept 2020]; Dowlah v American Arbitration Assn., 221 AD3d 426, 426 [1st Dept 2023]). Plaintiff’s instant claims are based on the same transaction as in both earlier actions, and therefore they are barred even though they are based upon different legal theories (Dowlah, 221 AD3d at 427). “That plaintiff has pleaded different causes of action and included new parties is of no moment” since “plaintiff, the party against whom preclusion is sought, was a party in the earlier action[s]” (id.).

To the extent plaintiff’s claim against PSC-CUNY arises from its appointment of plaintiff’s allegedly negligent attorney and thus raises a distinct issue, his allegations constitute a claim that he was improperly represented by his union, which is untimely under CPLR 217(2)(a)’s four-month limitations period (see Roman v City Empls. Union Local 237, 300 AD2d 142, 142 [1st Dept 2002], lv denied 100 NY2d 501 [2003]).”

Print:
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.