Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v Sedgwick Claims Mgt. Servs., Inc. 2021 NY Slip Op 30438(U) February 16, 2021 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 653915/2015 Judge: Andrea Masley is a case concerning the failures at trial of a medical malpractice case, and how that can play out in different states.

“In this breach of contract action, plaintiff Hartford Fire Insurance Company (Hartford) seeks to recover a payment of $15 m ii lion from defendant Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. (Sedgwick), asserting that Sedgwick breached its third-party administrator services agreement (Agreement) (NYSCEF Doc. No. [NYSCEF] 257, 1 Agreement) by its negligent administration of the action Garrick Calandra, as Administrator of the Estate of Genevieve Calandra v Radius Management Services, Inc., et al. (Civil Action No. MICV2011-02874D [Middlesex Superior Court 2011]) (Wrongful Death Action.) Sedgwick’s negligence allegedly exposed Hartford to treble damages in a subsequent federal action for failure to “effect prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in cases where liability is reasonably clear …. ” (NYSCEF 238,
Verified Complaint~ 66.) ”

“The factual background is set forth in this court’s decision denying Sedgwick’s summary judgment motion and will not be repeated in detail here. (NYSCEF 188, Decision and Order.) To summarize, Genevieve Calandra died at age 91 on August 16, 2008. (NYSCEF 238, Complaint~ 25.) In addition to a variety of health problems, after falling from her wheelchair, Calandra was taken from the insured nursing home (Insured) and hospitalized. (Id.~ 61.) Calandro’s Estate, represented by David Hoey, Esq., filed the Wrongful Death Action on August 16, 2011. (Id.~~ 26-27.) Sedgwick’s claims manager, Mary Blair, hired Lawrence Kenney, Esq. to represent the Insured in the Wrongful Death Action. (Id.~~ 30, 32.) On July 21, 2014, the jury returned a  verdict of $1,425,000, $675,000 for pain and suffering and $750,000 for wrongful death, as well as punitive damages of $12,514,605 upon a finding of gross negligence. 3 (Id.~ 71.)

On September 30, 2014, the Calandra Estate demanded $40 million from Sedgwick and Hartford for purported bad faith and unfair trade practices for a failure to settle for which treble damages could be awarded under Massachusetts law. (NYSCEF 192, Estate’s 93A Demand Letter.)5 On November 20, 2014, Hartford settled the 93A Action for $15.9 million. 6 (NYSCEF 238, Complaint~ 85). On December 5, 2014, the Estate filed its action against Sedgwick (93A Action). (NYSCEF 191, Winget aff ~ 9; see also NYSCEF 214, Calandra v Sedgwick, 2017 WL 5593777 [D Mass 2017] [Civ Act. No. 15-10533].) Sedgwick offered to settle for $1.9 million, the amount of the compensatory damages and interest (NYSCEF 198, 93A Action Statement of Fact ~16).
However, there was no settlement with Sedgwick, and the matter proceeded against it.”

 

There is much further detail to read about, so read on in the case.

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.