the $ 1,681,000 rightfully belongs to the Republic of Liberia. Even if the issues were in dispute, we find that Bickford owes a fiduciary duty to plaintiffs and therefore Bickford must make an accounting to them. Furthermore, we find that plaintiffs have a superior possessory interest in the funds to that of Bickford, and therefore plaintiffs are entitled to return of the funds and related documents in Bickford's possession. The parties have pointed to no Liberian law that rebuts the common sense proposition that a governmental executive officer may properly revoke his predecessor's statements to an agent regarding the circumstances under which certain property may be released; we have no reason to believe otherwise.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment is granted.
B. Bickford's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Conversion Claim
In order to maintain an action for conversion, a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) plaintiff's legal ownership or immediate superior right of possession to property; and (2) defendant's unauthorized interference with plaintiff's ownership or possession of such property. See Kahn v. Crames, 92 A.D.2d 634, 459 N.Y.S.2d 941, 943 (1983) (citation omitted). Furthermore, where defendant originally possesses plaintiff's property lawfully, the plaintiff must have made a demand for a return of such property to the defendant, and the defendant must have refused to return the property. Heneghan v. Cap-a-Radiator Shops, 132 Misc.2d 936, 506 N.Y.S.2d 132, 134 (1986) (citation omitted).
On a 12(b)(6) motion, the plaintiff's allegations are to be taken as true and the complaint is to be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984). In Count III of their complaint, plaintiffs allege the following:
34. Defendants, acting in a fiduciary capacity as attorneys and agents for the Republic of Liberia and for certain parastatal entities, including LIMINCO, received, held, or otherwise controlled, either directly or indirectly, certain monies (including interest) and other property . . ., said monies and other property being at all relevant times, including the present, legally or beneficially owned by the Republic or certain of its parastatal entities, including LIMINCO.
* * *
36. By Defendants' refusals to honor Plaintiffs' repeated demands for an accounting of the disposition of the monies (including interest) and other property (including documents, files, etc.) entrusted to Defendants' possession or control on behalf of the Republic and of certain Liberian parastatal entities, including LIMINCO, and by Defendants' refusal to surrender said monies and property to Plaintiffs or to give Plaintiffs access thereto, and by further reason of Defendants' assertion that said monies and other property shall remain at Defendants' sole disposition and control subject to the instructions of Emanuel Shaw, Defendants have wrongfully and intentionally converted the same.
In the above paragraphs, the plaintiffs have alleged their ownership of the property in dispute, Bickford's interference with plaintiff's ownership of the property, and Bickford's refusal of plaintiffs' demand for the return of such property. Therefore, plaintiffs have stated a claim for conversion. Accordingly, we deny Bickford's motion to dismiss Count III of plaintiffs' complaint.
In sum, we deny defendants' motion to dismiss Count III and NPRAG's motion to intervene. We further grant plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment. It is hereby ORDERED:
1. Defendants shall provide a complete accounting to plaintiffs with respect to all property, including monies, received by defendants on behalf of the Republic of Liberia or any of its parastatal entities, including LIMINCO, at any time. Such accounting must include at least the following information:
a. a description of the nature and value of all property, including monies, received by defendants on behalf of the Republic of Liberia or any of its parastatal entities, including LIMINCO, the dates on which that property was received, and the reason for its being entrusted to defendants.
b. the current location of all property referred to in subparagraph a., above, including the locations and numbers of all bank accounts in which any such property is found, and the amounts currently in such accounts; and
c. the disposition of all property, including monies, referred to in subparagraph a., above, including the date of such disposition, the party receiving the property, the persons authorizing the transaction, and the reason for the transaction.
2. As part of the above-mentioned accounting, defendants shall also produce to plaintiffs the following documents:
a. all bank records related to any accounts in which monies received by defendants on behalf of the Government of Liberia or any of its parastatals, including LIMINCO, were held at any time. Such records must cover the entire periods in which the monies were in such accounts;
b. all other records and other documents maintained by defendants, or any other person or entity and in the possession of defendants, regarding property, including monies, received by defendants on behalf of the Government of Liberia or any of its parastatals, including LIMINCO. Such records are to include all documents regarding the disposition of such property; and
c. all documents, files, records or other information collected or created by defendants in their capacity as counsel to the Republic of Liberia or any of its parastatal entities, including LIMINCO.
3. Defendants shall complete their accounting to plaintiffs within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order.
4. Plaintiffs shall be entitled to request a further order from this Court should they believe in good faith that the accounting provided by defendants in accordance with this Order is incomplete, or is otherwise insufficient to establish either the value of the property, including monies, currently held by defendants on behalf of the Republic of Liberia and its parastatal entities, or the disposition of such property no longer held by defendants.
KENNETH CONBOY, U.S.D.J.
Dated: New York, New York
March 24, 1992
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