Silverstein v Nezhat 2024 NY Slip Op 32173(U) June 24, 2024 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: Index No. 109486/2006 Judge: Kathy J. King is a final attempt to increase the award in a medical malpractice case via a claim of violation of Judiciary Law 487. It fails.

“The instant medical malpractice action was commenced in 2006 against Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Farr Nezhat. Plaintiff, who is an attorney and proceeding pro se in this application, was represented by counsel at trial, in early 2016. The case was tried to verdict over the course of 15 days before the Honorable Eileen A. Rakower, and ultimately the jury ruled in favor of the defendants on plaintiff’s medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims. Judgment was entered on June 1, 2016. The record reveals that a notice of appeal was filed on behalf of plaintiff; however, plaintiff never perfected her appeal, and according to defendants, the appeal was dismissed on defendants’ motion. In support of her motion, plaintiff argues that the judgment must be vacated because defense counsel engaged in fraudulent conduct at trial through “deceit and collusion” with the defendants, defense witnesses, and defense experts, resulting in a “fraudulent verdict.” In essence, plaintiff asserts, inter alia, that witnesses perjured themselves at the behest of defense counsel. Plaintiff also asserts that during the trial defense counsel used defamatory language when speaking about the plaintiff to the jury.”

“Here, the arguments presented by plaintiff demonstrate that she is seeking to relitigate the same claims raised at trial by her attorney, and that she simply disagrees with the jury’s verdict. Plaintiff has failed to submit a scintilla of evidence to support the speculative and specious claims of deceit and collusion and has “offered nothing more than broad, unsubstantiated allegations of fraud on the part of [the defendants]” (Aames Capital Corp. v Davidsohn, 24 AD3d 474, 475 [2d Dept 2005], quoting Miller v Lanzisera, 273 AD2d 866, 868 [4th Dept 2000]. As such, plaintiff’s argument must fail.”

“The Court further finds that plaintiff’s reliance on Judiciary Law § 487 is barred by collateral estoppel which gives conclusive effect to prior determinations when two conditions are met. There must be “an identity of issue which has necessarily been decided in the prior action and is decisive of the present action, and there must have been a full and fair opportunity to contest the decision now said to be controlling” (Lennon v 56th and Park (NY) Owner, LLC, 199AD3d 64, 69 [2d Dept 2021], quoting Buechel v Bain, 97 NY2d 295, 303-04 [2001] [internal quotation marks omitted]). Here, the issue as to whether defendants’ attorneys violated Judiciary Law § 487 prior to and during the trial of the instant medical malpractice action was determined in a plenary matter commenced by plaintiff. By Decision and Order dated May 30, 2023,bearing Index No. 151024/2022, the Court (J. Ramseur) denied plaintiff’s motion under Judiciary Law § 487. Thus, vacatur of the judgment and damages is barred by collateral estoppel.”

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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.