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New York Court Hears Malpractice Case, Finds for the Defendants


The plaintiffs in the case are Louis V. Greco individually and as the Trustee for the Gamcrefk Trust. The defendants in the case are Ulmer & Berne L.L.P.

Case History

The defendants in the case, Ulmer & Berne, Jeffrey S. Dunlap, Esq., and Christopher P. Fisher, Esq., move for an order that dismisses the complaints by the plaintiffs both individually and as the trustee for the Gamcrefk Trust on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction and dismissing the complaint made by the plaintiff based on the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Case Background and Facts

The plaintiffs are seeking to recover damages for legal malpractice, undue enrichment, breach of contract, and attorney’s fees that resulted from the Ulmer defendants’ representation of the plaintiffs in the underlying action from the case Brian Sullivan versus Alain Kodsi. This case was commenced in the state of Illinois. The action stemmed from a business relationship that was entered into by Kodsi, Sullivan, and Antonio Gracias in 1996 for the purpose of purchasing mid-sized companies. Sullivan alleges that they found a suitable company located in Ohio, but he was told by Kodsi and Gracias that they were going to purchase the company and exclude him from the deal. A New York Injury Lawyer said the company was purchased in June of 1998 and Sullivan sought action to recover damages, based on claims of breach of a partnership agreement.

The Ulmer defendants appeared in the Illinois action as counsel for Kodsi in July of 2002. During this instant action the plaintiffs allege the firm failed to respond to specific requests to admit in the Illinois action. This resulted in an agreement pursuant to which Kodsi and the Trust conceded certain points, which ultimately forced them to settle for an amount that was greater than necessary.

Defendants Arguments

The defendants, in support of their motion rely upon affirmation from the counsel and from affidavits provided by Dunlap and Fisher that argue this court does not have jurisdiction over them. They further argue that the headquarters of the firm are located in Cleveland, Ohio with other offices throughout Ohio and in Chicago, Illinois. A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer said they do not maintain and office in New York and do not own any property here or regularly conduct business in this state.

Plaintiffs Argument

The plaintiff argues that this court may exercise jurisdiction over the Ulmer defendants because the firm has residents of the state and businesses for clients as well as they have visited New York in connection with the action in Illinois. A Suffolk County Personal Injury Lawyer said the plaintiff relies on an affidavit submitted by Greco that alleges he is a Brooklyn resident and he has been trustee of the trust since the fall of 2005.

Case Results

In this case, the Court finds that the plaintiffs have failed to establish any facts that would entitle them to pursue discovery and demonstrate that the court should exercise personal injury jurisdiction over the Ulmer defendants. The court concludes that the plaintiff has failed to submit sufficient facts to demonstrate that the defendant engaged in activities that made it foreseeable that their products would be marketed and sold in New York.

According to the evidence that has been provided in this case, the court rules in favor of the Ulmer Defendants. The action against them is dismissed and all other claims against them shall be severed and shall continue.

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