It's Definite! The Statute of Limitations for Judiciary Law 487 is 6 years

Judge Read has written the second earth shifting opinion on Judicary Law 487.  As she writes, "Judiciary Law § 487 exposes an attorney who "[i]s guilty of any deceit or collusion, or consents to any deceit or collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party" to criminal (misdemeanor) liability and treble damages, to be recovered by the injured party in a civil action.

Her first opinion in the area was the very important Amalfitano v Rosenberg , 2009 NY Slip Op 01069 [12 NY3d 8]  February 12, 2009  Read, J.  Court of Appeals.  She reviewed the history of the statute: "As the District Court correctly observed, however, Judiciary Law § 487 does not derive from common-law fraud. Instead, as the Amalfitanos point out, section 487 descends from the first Statute of Westminster, which was adopted by the Parliament summoned by King Edward I of England in 1275. The relevant provision of that statute specified that

"if any Serjeant, Pleader, or other, do any manner of Deceit or Collusion in the King's Court, or consent [unto it,] in deceit of the Court [or] to beguile the Court, or the Party, and thereof be attainted, he shall be imprisoned for a Year and a Day, [*3]and from thenceforth shall not be heard to plead in [that] Court for any Man; and if he be no Pleader, he shall be imprisoned in like manner by the Space of a Year and a Day at least; and if the Trespass require greater Punishment, it shall be at the King's Pleasure" (3 Edw, ch 29; see generally Thomas Pitt Taswell-Langmead, English Constitutional History, at 153-154 [Theodore F.T. Plucknett ed, Sweet & Maxwell, 10th ed 1946]).
Five centuries later, in 1787, the Legislature adopted a law with strikingly similar language, and added an award of treble damages, as follows:

"And be it further enacted . . . [t]hat if any counsellor, attorney, solicitor, pleader, advocate, proctor, or other, do any manner of deceit or collusion, in any court of justice, or consent unto it in deceit of the court, or to beguile the court or the party, and thereof be convicted, he shall be punished by fine and imprisonment and shall moreover pay to the party grieved, treble damages, and costs of suit" (L 1787, ch 35, § 5).
In 1830, the Legislature carried forward virtually identical language in the Revised Statutes of New York, prescribing that

"[a]ny counsellor, attorney or solicitor, who shall be guilty of any deceit or collusion, or shall consent to any deceit or collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the court. He shall also forfeit to the party injured by his deceit or collusion, treble damages, to be{**12 NY3d at 13} recovered in a civil action" (2 Rev Stat of NY, part III, ch III, tit II, art 3, § 69, at 215-216 [2d ed 1836])."
 

Today, she wrote the opinion that decides the statute of limitations for Judicary Law 487 in Melcher v Greenberg Traurig, LLP   2014 NY Slip Op 02213   Decided on April 1, 2014   Court of Appeals
Read, J.  QuotingCardozo  in Beers v. Hotchkiss, as well as explaining how the common law of the United States started:

"Melcher points out that English statutory and common law became New York common law as part of the Colonial-era incorporation or "reception" of English law into New York law. As explained in Bogardus v Trinity Church (4 Paige Ch 178, 198 [1833]), 

"[t]he common law of the mother country as modified by positive enactments, together with the statute laws which are in force at the time of the emigration of the colonists, become in fact the common law rather than the common and statute law of the colony. The statute law of the mother country, therefore, when introduced into the colony of New-York, by common consent, because it was applicable to the colonists in their new situation, and not by legislative enactment, became a part of the common law of this province" (see also Beers v Hotchkiss, 256 NY 41, 54 [1931, Cardozo, C.J.] ["(T)he statutes of the mother country in existence at the settlement of a colony . . . are deemed to have entered into the fabric of the common law, and like the common law itself became law in the colony unless unsuited to the new conditions"] [emphasis added])."

Wow! 
 

 

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