Judiciary Law § 487 is a favorite tool to use against attorneys. It is ancient and powerful. However, in Doscher v Meyer 2019 NY Slip Op 08171
Decided on November 13, 2019 Appellate Division, Second Department it was totally inapplicable.
“We agree with the Supreme Court’s determination granting those branches of the respective motions of the Emerson defendants and the Greenberg Traurig defendants which were pursuant to CPLR 8303-a to impose sanctions against Devereaux. The Emerson defendants and the Greenberg Traurig defendants established that this action was without any reasonable basis in law or fact and that the primary purpose in commencing this action was to harass them (see Baxter v Javier, 109 AD3d 493, 495; Zysk v Kaufman, Borgeest & Ryan, LLP, 53 AD3d 482, 483; Nyitray v New York Athletic Club in City of N.Y., 274 AD2d 326, 327; Matter of Entertainment Partners Group v Davis, 198 AD2d 63, 64). Contrary to Devereaux’s contention, the allegedly defamatory statement made by Burrows was not actionable because it was absolutely privileged as a matter of law (see Brady v Gaudelli, 137 AD3d 951, 952; El Jamal v Weil, 116 AD3d 732, 734; Bisogno v Borsa, 101 AD3d 780, 781; Kilkenny v Law Off. of Cushner & Garvey, LLP, 76 AD3d 512, 513), and does not support a finding of a violation of Judiciary Law § 487 (see Seldon v Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, 116 AD3d 490, 491; Ticketmaster Corp. v Lidsky, 245 AD2d 142, 143). In [*2]addition, a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, in itself, does not give rise to a private cause of action against an attorney or law firm (see Cohen v Kachroo, 115 AD3d 512, 513; DeStaso v Condon Resnick, LLP, 90 AD3d 809, 814; Kallman v Krupnick, 67 AD3d 1093, 1096; Weintraub v Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim, & Ballon, 172 AD2d 254, 254). Furthermore, with respect to the Emerson defendants, it is undisputed that they were not present when the allegedly defamatory statement was made and, significantly, the complaint is bereft of any allegations setting forth a basis to hold them liable for Burrows’s statement (see Bostich v United States Trust Corp., 233 AD2d 193, 194).
In opposition to the motions, Devereaux did not even attempt to defend the merits of this action, and, instead, submitted a 48-page affirmation repeating the same arguments that he raised, on behalf of Doscher, in the accounting action related to, among other things, the Supreme Court’s alleged bias and the receiver’s alleged improper conduct (see Corsini v Morgan, 123 AD3d 525, 527; Sicignano v Town of Islip, 41 AD3d 830, 831). Contrary to Devereaux’s contention, he was afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard concerning whether his conduct in commencing this action constituted frivolous conduct under CPLR 8303-a (see Matter of Ruth S. [Sharon S.], 125 AD3d 978, 980; Selletti v Liotti, 104 AD3d 835, 836; cf. Grant v Frank, 150 AD3d 706, 707).”