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Arbitration leads to a substantial award


This is an action to recover legal fees. The plaintiff has moved to dismiss the counter claims made in the verified amended answer of the defendant. The defendant has filed a separate motion for leave to serve a second amended answer and to renew his prior motion to dismiss the complaint.

There are several counterclaims made by the defendant in his proposed answer including a counter claim for fraud, legal malpractice, and breach of fiduciary duty. He also added two additional counter claims in his amended answer, breach of the plain language requirement and breach of judiciary law section 427.

Case Facts

The defendant contends that he has resided in the state of Florida since 2000 and his son lives with his mother in New York. From April of 2002 through February of 2006 a partner of the plaintiff performed legal services for the defendant pursuant to a representation agreement in connection with matters that related to the defendants son and mother.

When the representation period ended the Queens defendant refused to pay the balance of the plaintiff’s legal fees. The defendant submitted a fee dispute to the fee dispute resolution program. A hearing was held and it was determined that the plaintiff was entitled to a portion of the claimed legal fees. As the defendant had already made payments to the plaintiff the plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendant $4,943.09 as an arbitration award.

The plaintiff was unsatisfied with the arbitration award and started this instant action for a trial de novo. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds of arbitration and award, collateral estoppel and res judicata pursuant to CPLR section 3211. The defendant’s motion was denied in its entirety and the plaintiff was found to be within his rights to pursue a trail de novo.

The defendant has now moved to amend his answers again and also to renew his previous motion to have the complaints against him dismissed.

Court Decision

The court has reviewed all of the documents as presented in the case and will grant the defendant’s motion to leave to serve the plaintiff with the second amended answer in regard to his first, second and third counterclaims. The fourth and fifth counterclaims are denied.

The plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the defendant’s counterclaims in the amended complaint in regard to the second and third counterclaims that are made within the amended answer is granted.

The defendant is ordered to serve a copy of this order with a notice of entry to all of the parties involve within twenty days of the orders being entered.

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