Dismissal of a legal malpractice action based upon documentary evidence

Where a defendant/law firm moves for dismissal of a legal malpractice action based upon documentary evidence, it must establish that the documents are a complete defense to the other action; otherwise, the motion will be denied and the action will be permitted to go forward.

The court stated in, Hershco v Gordon & Gordon, 155 AD3d 1007 [2d Dept 2017], “A motion to dismiss on the basis of CPLR 3211(a)(1) may be granted “only where the documentary evidence utterly refutes plaintiff’s factual allegations, conclusively establishing a defense as a matter of law” (Goshen v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of N.Y., 98 N.Y.2d 314, 326, 746 N.Y.S.2d 858, 774 N.E.2d 1190; see 413 Throop, LLC v. Triumph, the Church of the New Age, 153 A.D.3d 1306, 1307, 61 N.Y.S.3d 307). On a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), the court must accept the facts alleged in the complaint as true and afford the proponent the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory (see *39 Leon v. Martinez, 84 N.Y.2d 83, 87, 614 N.Y.S.2d 972, 638 N.E.2d 511; East Hampton Union Free School Dist. v. Sandpebble Bldrs., Inc., 66 A.D.3d 122, 125, 884 N.Y.S.2d 94, affd 16 N.Y.3d 775, 919 N.Y.S.2d 496, 944 N.E.2d 1135).”

– R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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