The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chin, District Judge.
In November 1992, plaintiff Bridgeway Corporation
("Bridgeway") sued defendant Citibank, N.A. ("Citibank"), in
Monrovia, Liberia, to recover monies it deposited in Citibank's
Liberian branch. After the Supreme Court of Liberia granted
judgment against defendant in the amount of US$189,376.66 (the
"Liberian judgment"), plaintiff sought to enforce the Liberian
judgment in the United States. On March 31, 1999, this Court
denied plaintiffs motion for summary judgment and granted, sua
sponte, summary judgment for defendant after finding as a
matter of law that the Liberian judicial system did not comport
with the requirements of due process. Bridgeway Corp. v.
Citibank, 45 F. Supp.2d 276, 287-88 (S.D.N.Y. 1999). The Second
Circuit affirmed. Bridgeway Corp. v. Citibank, 201 F.3d 134
(2d Cir. 2000).
Plaintiff now moves to be relieved from the March 31, 1999,
judgment and for leave to file an amended complaint. Defendant
opposes plaintiffs motion and also moves to dismiss the
complaint, arguing that (1) plaintiffs claims — breach of
contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment — are untimely, (2)
plaintiff failed to state a claim for breach of contract, (3)
plaintiff failed to plead fraud with particularity, and (4)
plaintiff failed to state a claim for unjust enrichment. For the
reasons set forth below, plaintiffs motion to be relieved from
the March 31, 1999, judgment and to file an amended complaint is
granted, and defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint is
denied in part and granted in part.
The underlying facts of this action are detailed in this
Court's March 30, 1999, opinion. Bridgeway, 45 F. Supp.2d at
B. Prior Proceedings in New York Courts
In October, 1997, plaintiff brought an action in New York
State Supreme Court, pursuant to Article 53 of the C.P.L.R., to
enforce the Liberian judgment against defendant. The action was
brought by the filing of a motion for summary judgment in lieu
of a complaint, as permitted by § 3213 of the C.P.L.R. (Calvey
Certif. ¶ 9). Defendant removed the action to the Southern
District of New York. Because the federal rules do not provide
for litigation of an action solely upon a summary judgment
motion, plaintiff filed a complaint on February 27, 1998, which
was two pages in length and sought solely the enforcement of the
Liberian judgment (the "original action" or "original
complaint"). (See Nevling Decl., at A3-4). Plaintiff then
moved for summary judgment, and,
on March 31, 1999, I denied the motion. Instead, I granted, sua
sponte, summary judgement in favor of defendant, finding that
"at the time the judgment at issue was rendered, the Liberian
judicial system was not fair and impartial and did not comport
with the requirements of due process." Bridgeway, 45 F. Supp.2d
at 287. The Second Circuit affirmed.
On May 12, 2000, plaintiff commenced an entirely new action
against defendant, docket number 00 Civ. 3598 (the "new
action"). The new action seeks recovery for defendant's alleged
breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment — in essence,
raising, for the first time before this Court, the matters that
formed the basis of the Liberian judgment.
On May 26, 2000, plaintiff moved to be relieved from this
Court's March 31, 1999, judgment, pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure Rule 60(b)(6), and to file an amended complaint,
which is identical to the complaint filed in the new action. In
addition, plaintiff requested that the new action be
consolidated with the original action.
Defendant opposes plaintiffs Rule 60(b)(6) motion and motion
for leave to amend, and defendant also moves to dismiss the new
First, I address plaintiffs Rule 60(b)(6) motion. Then, I
shall address plaintiffs motion for leave to file an amended
complaint, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 15(a). Finally, I will address defendant's motion to dismiss the
I. Relief From Judgment and Leave to File an Amended
Rule 60(b)(6) provides that a "court may relieve a party . . .
from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for . . . any other
reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). The rule:
confers broad discretion on the trial court to grant
relief when appropriate to accomplish justice, . . .
[and] it constitutes a grand reservoir of equitable
power to do justice in a particular case. . . . It is
properly invoked where there are extraordinary
circumstances, . . . or where the judgment may work
an extreme and undue hardship, . . . and should be
liberally construed when substantial justice will
thus be served.
Matarese v. LeFevre, 801 F.2d 98, 106 (2d Cir. 1986) (internal
quotations and citations omitted); accord Manhattan Cable
Television, Inc. v. Cable Doctor, Inc., 824 F. Supp. 34, 35
(S.D.N.Y. 1993) (quoting Matarese and ...