That title implies the progression of the attorney into debtorhood. However, the story is different here. The case.
Bell v. Hubbert, 05 Civ. 10456
Decided: December 22, 2006
"In or around November 1992, Bell retained the Defendants’ law firm, known as Lester, Hubbert & Gill, P.C. ("LH&G"), to prosecute a cause of action in New York Supreme Court. Defendants’ then – law partner, LeRoi Gill ("Gill"), neglected to respond to a summary judgment motion in that matter, and judgment was subsequently entered against Bell on default. Gill failed to advise Bell of the default, instead representing on several occasions between October 1993 and July 1994 that the summary judgment motion was still pending. Bell discovered these misrepresentations in July 1994, and discharged LH&G shortly thereafter.
Following Gill’s suspension from the practice of law for three years on October 3, 1996, the Defendants continued to practice under the name of Lester & Hubbert, P.C. ("L&H").
On March 26, 1998, Bell filed an action in New York Supreme Court against Gill, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and malpractice. On May 24, 2000, Bell was awarded a default judgment in the amount of $138,533.67 against Gill and L&H. No judgment was entered against Hubbert or Lester personally.
Bell discovered in or about July 2000 that neither LH&G nor L&H was incorporated as a professional corporation.
Bell filed an action in New York Supreme Court on July 14, 2000, alleging malpractice and fraud by Hubbert and Lester. Upon the default of Hubbert and Lester, a judgment in the amount of $142,037.23 was filed on October 2, 2001.
Lester filed for bankruptcy on December 12, 2001. By order dated July 9, 2003, the Honorable Novalyn L. Winfield of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey held that the judgment of $142,037.23 was non-dischargeable debt pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(2). On or about July 23, 2003, Lester moved to voluntarily dismiss his bankruptcy petition.
By order to show cause filed in the New York Supreme Court, Lester succeeded in having the $142,037.23 judgment opened. The underlying action against Hubbert and Lester, originally filed on July 14, 2000, was dismissed as time-barred by opinion of the Honorable Richard F. Braun of the New York Supreme Court. Bell v. Hubbert, No. 115509/00 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Nov. 3, 2004).
Although this Court generally permits amendment of a fee-paid action to cure any defects before dismissing the case, Hughes v. Albany, 76 F.3d 53 (2d Cir. 1996), there is no need to do so here as Bell presents no arguably meritorious issue. See Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989) ("Section 1915 . . . authorizes courts to dismiss a ‘frivolous or malicious’ action, but there is little doubt they would have power to do so even in the absence of this statutory provision."); cf. Pillay v. Immigration & Naturalization Serv., 45 F.3d 14, 17 (2d Cir. 1995) (per curiam) (discussing appellate court’s inherent authority to dismiss meritless and/or frivolous fee-paid cases). Repleading would also be inappropriate here in light of Bell’s "history of abusing the process of this and other courts by repeatedly filing actions based on the same allegations." Malley v. N.Y.C. Bd. of Educ., No. 94 Civ. 7186 (JFK), 1997 WL 570501 (Sept. 15, 1997) (enjoining plaintiff from filing further complaints in any federal court based on given allegations without prior permission). In addition to filing several state court complaints alleging fraud and malpractice on the part of Defendants, Bell has been a frequent litigant in this District. In the last three years, he has filed at least eleven complaints, many involving similar facts and allegations. See Bell v. Schaeffer Buick BMW, Inc., No. 03 Civ. 10315 (PKC) (FM) (S.D.N.Y. filed Dec. 31, 2003); Bell v. Classic Chevrolet/Buick and BMW, Inc., No. 04 Civ. 0693 (PKC) (S.D.N.Y. filed Jan. 29, 2004); Bell v. Zavell, No. 04 Civ. 9733 (RWS) (S.D.N.Y. filed Dec. 10, 2004); Bell v. Gordon, No. 05 Civ. 2163 (NRB) (S.D.N.Y. filed Feb. 4, 2005); Bell v. Stephens, No. 05 Civ. 7182 (LTS) (RLE) (S.D.N.Y. filed Aug. 12, 2005); Bell v. Hubbert, No. 05 Civ. 10456 (RWS) (S.D.N.Y. filed Dec. 13, 2005); Bell v. Gotham Process Service, Inc., No. 06 Civ. 0470 (JGK) (S.D.N.Y. filed Jan. 23, 2006); Bell v. South Bay European Corp., No. 06 Civ. 0472 (PKC) (GWG) (S.D.N.Y. filed Jan. 23, 2006); Bell v. Manhattan Motorcars, Inc., No. 06 Civ. 4972 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y. filed June 28, 2006); Bell v. Carlsen Motor Cars, Inc., No. 06 Civ. 4974 (LBS) (DFE) (S.D.N.Y. filed June 28, 2006); Bell v. Brace Engineering and Investment Corp., No. 06 Civ. 5742 (KMK) (S.D.N.Y. filed July 28, 2006).
For the reasons stated above, Lester’s motion is granted and the Complaint is dismissed with prejudice as to both Defendants.
It is so ordered. "