There is great dispute over the elements of Judiciary Law § 487. Is it attempted deceit or successful deceit? Does it require egregious conduct, or chronic conduct or chronic and extreme conduct or a pattern of delinquency?
Schwartzman v Pliskin, Rubano, Baum & Vitulli 2019 NY Slip Op 30419(U) January 14, 2019 Supreme Court, Queens County Docket Number: 714510/2017 Judge: Joseph Risi takes the position that all the above are required.
“Section 487 of the Judiciary Law broadly provides for a private civil cause of action for treble
damages against lawyers who deceive any party or the court. Relief under this statute, however, is
reserved for a chronic, extreme pattern of legal delinquency (see Bridges v 725 Riverside Drive, Inc., 119 AD2d 789 ; see also Wiggin v Gordon, 115 Misc. 2d 1071 ), or for misconduct that is chronic. (See Bridges v 725 Riverside Drive, Inc., supra.) Furthermore, to recover under Section 487, a plaintiff must plead and prove both actual deceit by the attorney and causation, that is, that the deceit or collusion actually caused the plaintiffs damages. (See Maroulis v Sari M Friedman, P.C., supra; see also Gumarova v Law Offe. of Paul A. Boronow, P.C., 129 AD3d 911 ; Mizuno v Barak, 113 AD3d 825 ).
Thus, even egregious misconduct will not rise to the level of a violation of Section 487 ifthere is no pattern of intentional deceit or wrongdoing. Here, defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. demonstrated that plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action for violation of Judiciary Law §487 as plaintiffs did not allege the requisite pattern of wrongdoing or deceit necessary to sustain such claim. (See CPLR §3211 [a].) Defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. further demonstrated that plaintiff John’s statements in his affidavits submitted in the Tabco and Beroukhim actions constitute informal judicial admissions and documentary evidence warranting the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claim of violation of Judiciary Law §487. (See CPLR §3211 [a][l]; see also Morgenthow & Latham v Bank of N. Y. Co., supra.) Accordingly, that branch of the motion of defendants PRBV and Vitulli, Esq. which seeks dismissal of plaintiffs’ third cause of action for violation of Judiciary Law §487 is granted. “