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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: December 12, 2020

Judiciary Law Section 487 Claim Dismissed for Lack of Specific, Non-Conclusory Allegations

On December 2, 2020, the Second Department issued a decision in DeMartino v. Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP, 2020 NY Slip Op. 07163, affirming the dismissal of a Judiciary Law 487 claim for lack of specific, non-conclusory allegations, explaining:

Pursuant to Judiciary Law § 487, an attorney who is guilty of any deceit or collusion, or consents to any deceit or collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party is guilty of a misdemeanor, and forfeits to the party injured treble damages, to be recovered in a civil action. A cause of action to recover damages for violation of Judiciary Law § 487 must be pleaded with specificity. Here, the plaintiff alleged intent to deceive in a conclusory fashion, and failed to allege that either he or a court in fact were deceived by the alleged collusion between the defendants and certain others, or that he suffered damages that were proximately caused by the alleged deceit.

(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 jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client has a question regarding whether a lawyer has crossed the line from creative to sanctionable.

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