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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: May 13, 2017

Sole Remedy for Fraud on Court in Prior Proceeding is Motion to Vacate Under CPLR 5015(a)(3)

On April 28, 2017, the Fourth Department issued a decision in MAA-Sharda, Inc. v. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co., 2017 NY Slip Op. 03290, affirming the dismissal of an action to overturn an earlier judgment based on fraud on the court, explaining:

To the extent that the amended complaint alleged fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party committed during the course of the prior litigation, plaintiffs’ sole remedy was a motion to vacate the court’s prior order pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(3). A litigant’s remedy for alleged fraud in the course of a legal proceeding lies exclusively in that lawsuit itself, i.e., by moving pursuant to CPLR 5015 to vacate the judgment due to its fraudulent procurement, not a second plenary action collaterally attacking the judgment.

Contrary to plaintiffs’ further contention, this case does not fit within the exception set forth in Newin Corp. v Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (37 NY2d 211, 217), which applies when the alleged fraud or perjury is merely a means to the accomplishment of a larger fraudulent scheme, i.e., one greater in scope than that in the prior proceeding. We agree with Supreme Court that plaintiffs’ conclusory allegation of a larger fraudulent scheme appears to be a transparent and patently insufficient attempt to bring this action within the Newin exception.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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