FKB’S A. Michael Furman and Christopher D. Skoczen prevailed on a pre-answer motion to dismiss an action alleging professional negligence and breach of contract arising from Trusts and Estates services provided by FKB’s client, a prominent national law firm.
The plaintiff filed suit in Supreme Court, New York County and claimed that the decision by FKB’s client to probate the decedent’s estate in Rhode Island, rather than in New York State, allowed the decedent’s widow to contest the Will and obtain a significantly larger portion of the estate than bequested by decedent. Plaintiff alleged that the decedent was a resident of New York State and that the decision to probate the estate in Rhode Island led to losses to the estate, due to the greater rights granted to a surviving widow under Rhode Island law.
In the motion to dismiss, FKB successfully argued that the Rhode Island law relied on by plaintiffs did not support plaintiffs’ theory of liability. In dismissing the Complaint, the Court (Hon. David B. Cohen, J.S.C.) found that a plain reading of the Rhode Island statutes revealed that the decedent’s widow did not have additional rights under Rhode Island law than under New York law, such that the decision by FKB’s client to probate the Will in Rhode Island was not a proximate cause of any purported losses to the estate.