Genesis REOC Co., LLC v Poppel  2022 NY Slip Op 02947 Decided on May 03, 2022 Appellate Division, First Department is a case in which Plaintiff’s affidavit was prominently relied upon by the Court in determining that there was  scheme in place rather than an error of judgment.  The affidavit also demonstrated negligent representation.

“Defendants’ argument that the amended complaint does not allege facts sufficient to establish an attorney/client relationship is unavailing, given the affidavits by plaintiffs’ principal, Andrew Stone, submitted in opposition to defendants’ motions, describing the parties’ relationship and defendants’ agreement to represent plaintiffs (see Rushaid v Pictet & Cie, 28 NY3d 316, 327 [2016]). Nor is it dispositive that plaintiffs and the Williams Defendants did not have a retainer agreement with respect to the engagement, given Stone’s explanation of the agreement he had with the Williams Defendants, the advice they gave him, the acts he undertook as part of the Williams Defendants’ engagement, and his reliance on their advice (see Pellegrino v Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., 49 AD3d 94, 99 [1st Dept 2008]).

The amended complaint and the affidavits sufficiently allege negligent representation. Plaintiffs allege that defendants had an undisclosed scheme to advance the interests of nonparty Karim Hutson and his wholly owned entities over plaintiffs’ interests, that they structured their investments in the relevant real estate projects so that the economic benefits of those projects were diverted to Hutson, and that they failed to disclose their conflict of interest while assuring plaintiffs that their financial interests would be protected (see e.g. Yuko Ito v Suzuki, 57 AD3d 205, 207-208 [1st Dept 2008]).

The amended complaint and the affidavits sufficiently allege proximate cause. Plaintiffs allege not simply that defendants made an error in judgment but that they actively and surreptitiously assisted Hutson in diverting funds away from plaintiffs (see Lappin v Greenberg, 34 AD3d 277, 279 [1st Dept 2006]). To the extent defendants rely upon evidence that other factors contributed to the loss, that simply raises an issue of fact not to be determined on the pleadings (Voluto Ventures, LLC v Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin, LLC, 46 AD3d 354, 355 [1st Dept 2007]).”

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.