Commercial Division Blog
Posted: August 23, 2018 / Categories Commercial, Law Firms and Professional Ethics
Judiciary Law Sec. 487 Claim Dismissed for Failure to Allege Intent to Deceive
On August 15, 2018, the Second Department issued a decision in Bill Birds, Inc. v. Stein Law Firm, P.C., 2018 NY Slip Op. 05743, dismissing a Judiciary Law Section 487 claim for failure to allege intent to deceive, explaining:
Contrary to the defendants' contention, the cause of action alleging a violation of Judiciary Law § 487 was not duplicative of the cause of action alleging legal malpractice. A violation of Judiciary Law § 487 requires an intent to deceive, whereas a legal malpractice claim is based on negligent conduct.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the defendants' motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the cause of action alleging a violation of Judiciary Law § 487. A chronic extreme pattern of legal delinquency is not a basis for liability pursuant to Judiciary Law § 487. Further, the plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts demonstrating that the defendant attorneys had the intent to deceive the court or any party. Allegations regarding an act of deceit or intent to deceive must be stated with particularity. That the defendants commenced the underlying action on behalf of the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs failed to prevail in that action does not provide a basis for a cause of action alleging a violation of Judiciary Law § 487 to recover the legal fees incurred.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted).
Part of being a good litigator is thinking of winning arguments other lawyers miss. However, courts have little patience for lawyers who cross the line from creative to making frivolous arguments or who attempt to mislead the court. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at email@example.com if you or a client has a question regarding whether a lawyer has crossed the line from creative to sanctionable.