Kasowitz, Benson, Torres LLP v Cabrera 2019 NY Slip Op 32738(U) September 13, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 157367/2018 Judge: O. Peter Sherwood is the story of a $ 33 Million real estate transaction gone bad. Then, to make things worse for plaintiff, all the attorneys get the statute of limitations wrong. In the end, nothing works.
“In or around October 2011, Cabrera and Matthew Karp (“Karp”) of aribbean Propey Group ( “CPG”)began discussing a potential purchase of the property by CPG or a potential joint venture with the Barza parties. To facilitate the process. CPG and Barza entered into an agreement for the exchange of confidential information “solely for the purpose of determining ” whether or not to proceed with the Transaction” (‘”CPG Agreement”). Cabrera provident all documents sought by CPG.”
In September 2011 Cabrera retained attorney Stephen B. Meister (“Meister”) of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP (“Meister Seelig”) “to represent him and his affiliates in a dispute with the Caribbian Property Group … and its affiliates relating to undeveloped acreage in Puerto Rico.” Meister contacted the COO and Principal of CPG. a personal acquaintantance. and confirmed that CPG had no future intention to pruchase the Property but would be willing to consider paying a
settlement sum. Meister expressed to Cabrera that Barza had viable: claimns and agreed to send CPG a demand letter detailing those claims. Meister never sent the demand letter he took no other action
to pursue the claims and failed to take reasonable steps necessary to preserve the tort claims prior to the exipiration of the applicable statute of limitations.
ln April 2015. the Barza parties began discussing its cliams with attorney Jennifer Recine of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP ( “Kasowitz”). Between April 27. 2015 and June 15. 2015 sent a number of documents to Kasowitz as requested in order to evaluate the claims.”
“After Meister argued that the claims were time-barred, Kasowitz filed an amended complaint alleging that Kasowitz had not received Meister’s billing records until November 10, 2014 and that those records were necessary to determine whether meister did the work he was retained to do.”
” The Court ultimately dismissed the claims against Meister as time-barred.”
“The malpractice claim should be dismissed because, in light of Barza’s admission Barza cannot allege causation. The Barza defendants alleged in both the verified complaint in the Meister action, and in the counterclaims to this action that any claims that they would have had against CPG expired on February 14, 2014. The Kasowitz firm was not retained until June 22, 2015”