Judiciary Law § 487

Bill Birds, Inc. v Stein Law Firm, P.C., 2018 NY Slip Op 05743 [2d Dept 2018]

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" (Moormann v Perini & Hoerger, 65 AD3d 1106, 1108; see Lauder v Goldhamer, 122 AD3d 908, 911; Sabalza v Salgado, 85 AD3d 436, 438).

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 (see Dupree v Voorhees, 102 AD3d 912, 913). Further, the plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts demonstrating that the defendant attorneys had the "intent to deceive the court or any party" (Judiciary Law § 487; see Schiller v Bender, Burrow, & Rosenthal, LLP, 116 AD3d 756, 759; Agostini v Sobol, 304 AD2d 395, 396). Allegations regarding an act of deceit or intent to deceive must be stated with particularity (see CPLR 3016[b]; Facebook, Inc. v DLA Piper LLP [US], 134 AD3d 610, 615; Armstrong v Blank Rome LLP, 126 AD3d 427Putnam County Temple & Jewish Ctr., Inc. v Rhinebeck Sav. Bank, 87 AD3d 1118, 1120). 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.

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