Rivkin Radler attorneys secure dismissal of fraud and civil conspiracy claims and pre-answer dismissal of an action for contribution and indemnification


Jonathan Bruno and William Schleifer secured a pre-answer dismissal of claims for fraud and civil conspiracy against Rivkin Radler‘s client, a real estate attorney. The plaintiff/seller alleged that their client was fraudulently caused to sell his property based upon false statements and a fraudulent appraisal. Rivkin represented the plaintiff/seller’s attorney at the closing. The plaintiff alleged that the firm’s client failed to advise him that he would be forced to leave the property after it was sold or that he was losing all equity he had in the property.

Bruno and Schleifer used documentary evidence, including affidavits that the plaintiff had submitted in a related eviction proceeding, to show that the Plaintiff did not rely on anything that the client stated and that any alleged omissions/failure to speak were insufficient to state a cause of action for fraud in the present circumstances. Additionally, the court found that the allegations of fraud were duplicative of a legal malpractice cause of action, which would have been barred by the statute of limitations. The court further agreed with the firm’s argument that the plaintiff’s conclusory allegations were insufficient to state a claim for civil conspiracy to commit fraud.

Therefore, the court granted Rivkin Radler’s motion to dismiss in its entirety.

In a separate matter, David Wilck and William Schleifer secured a pre-answer dismissal of claims for contribution and indemnification against its client, ICA Risk, an insurance and risk consulting company. The action stemmed from the fact that ICA Risk’s client, American Pipe, was denied more than $1 million in liability coverage when an excess insurer disclaimed coverage on the grounds that it did not receive timely notice of a claim.

As a result, an action was commenced with numerous parties to determine who was at fault for the failure to give proper notice and whether any other excess insurance coverage was available to American Pipe. Wilck and Schleifer successfully argued that all claims for contribution against ICA Risk must be dismissed as a matter of law because the underlying claims were for breach of contract. The firm was also able to get the claims for common-law indemnification dismissed.

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