FKB’s Andrew Jones and Dan Butler recently obtained a pre-answer dismissal in connection to a Plaintiff’s allegations of fraud, civil conspiracy, and violations of Judiciary Law § 487. Kings County Justice Karen Rothenberg’s decision dismissing the Plaintiff’s Complaint is dated July 3, 2018.
Plaintiff brought suit against a number of attorneys and law firms, each of whom represented a Washington D.C.-based client at different stages of his life, and in different locations, over the course of the past 20 years. Plaintiff brought suit against FKB’s client, a well-respected, Maryland-based practitioner, in Kings County, New York.
FKB’s motion was premised on two central tenets: (1) Plaintiff could not establish personal jurisdiction over FKB’s Maryland-based client, sufficient to bring suit against FKB’s client in New York and (2) notwithstanding the lack of personal jurisdiction, Plaintiff has failed to state causes of action for fraud, civil conspiracy, and for violations of of Judiciary Law § 487. FKB argued that the client cannot be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state of New York because the client does not live in New York, practice law in New York, has no personal or professional contacts in New York, and more broadly, is not subject to long-arm jurisdiction in New York. With respect to Plaintiff’s causes of action, FKB argued that Plaintiff had not pled his case for fraud with sufficient particularity, as required by CPLR § 3016(b), and also argued that because FKB’s client is not subject to the jurisdiction of New York, the client cannot be subject to New York’s Judiciary Law § 487. Lastly, FKB argued that New York does not recognize civil conspiracy to commit a tort as an independent cause of action.
Justice Rothenberg dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims against FKB’s client, based not only on a lack of personal jurisdiction, but also due to Plaintiff’s failure to state a cause of action for any of the above-referenced causes of action advanced by Plaintiff in his Complaint. In other words, this Plaintiff’s claims were dismissed on procedural grounds (lack of personal jurisdiction) and substantive grounds (failure to state any of his listed causes of action).