New York has no applicable statute of limitations longer than 6 years, and this case was brought too late. That is the holding in Epiphany Community Nursery Sch. v Levey August 7, 2017
Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 654655/2016 Judge: Shirley Werner Kornreich. This shocking story of monies siphoned off by an unfaithful husband from the wife’s New York school is one where a discovery statute of limitations in fraud does not work.
“The Gruppo Levey Defendants are currently before this court in an unrelated action, styled Pensmore Investments, LLC v Gruppo, Levey & Co., Index No. 650002/2014 (the Pensmore Action), concerning their default on a settlement agreement. The underlying case and settlement resulted in protracted litigation over their alleged financial improprieties. See Pensmore Action, Dkt. 495 (granting summary judgment on claim to pierce corporate veils of GLC, GLH and another related entity).3 An externality of the Pensmore Action was the public revelation that Hugh and Claire, longtime business partners, were having an affair. Predictably, the aftermath was an acrimonious divorce proceeding between Hugh and his now ex-wife, nonparty Wendy Levey (Wendy),4 which recently settled. Part of the fallout is the instant dispute over Hugh’s involvement with the School, a New York not-for-profit corporation that operates a kindergarten and nursery school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
The School’s complaint contains well pleaded allegations of serious financial improprieties committed by Hugh. Nonetheless, while this case would have survived a motion to dismiss had it been commenced years ago, at this juncture, the claims in this action are dismissed because they are time-barred. ”
“The first scheme occurred in 2002 and 2003, more than a decade before this action was commenced in 2016. There is no applicable New York statute of limitations longer than 6 years. See CPLR 213 (claims with 6-year statute of limitations, including breach of contract, fraud, and accounting) & 214 (claims with 3-year statute of limitations, including conversion and malpractice). 11 The School recognizes this, but relies on CPLR 213(8), which provides that in “an action based upon fraud[,] the time within which the action must be commenced shall be the greater of six years from the date the cause of action accrued or two years from the time the plaintiff or the_ person under whom the plaintiff claims discovered the fraud, or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it” (emphasis added). It is well settled that “[t]he inquiry as to whether a plaintiff could, with reasonable diligence, have discovered the fraud turns on whether the plaintiff was possessed of knowledge of facts from which [the fraud] could be reasonably inferred.” Sargiss v Magarelli, 12 NY3d 527, 532 (2009) (emphasis added; quotation marks omitted); see Aozora Bank. Ltd. v Deutsche Bank Secs. Inc., 13 7 AD3d 685, 689 (1st Dept 2016) (“Where the circumstances are such as to suggest to a person of ordinary intelligence the probabi,Iity that he has been defrauded, a duty of inquiry arises, and if he omits that inquiry when it would have developed the truth, and shuts his eyes to the facts which call for investigation, knowledge of the fraud will be imputed to him.”) (emphasis added), quoting CIFG Assurance N. Am., Inc. v Credit Suisse Secs. (USA) LLC, 128 AD3d 607, 608 (!st Dept 2015), and citing Gutkin v Siegal, 85 AD3d 687, 688 (I st Dept 2011) (“The test as to when fraud should with reasonable diligence have been discovered is an objective one.”) (emphasis added).”