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Genger v. Genger

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

May 29, 2013

Orly GENGER, in her individual capacity and on behalf of the Orly Genger 1993 Trust (both in its individual capacity and on behalf of D & K Limited Partnership), Plaintiff,
v.
Dalia GENGER, Sagi Genger, Leah Fang, D & K GP LLC, and TPR Investment Associates, Inc., Defendants. No. 109749/09.

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a table in the New York Supplement.

Yoav M. GriverBryan D. Leinbach Zeichner Ellman & Krause, New York, for Plaintiff Orly Genger and Orly Genger 1993 Trust.

Robert A. Meister, Marisa Warren, Pedowitz & Meister LLP, New York, for Defendant Dalia Genger.

John Dellaportas, Evan Michailidis, Duane Morris LLP, New York, for Defendant TPR Investment Associates, Sagi Genger and Sagi Genger 1993 Trust.

Judith Lisa Bachman, Esq., New York, for Defendant Leah Fang.

Yankwitt & McGuire, LLP, White Plains, for Defendants.

Desmond C.B. Lyons, Lyons McGovern LLP, White Plains, for defendant Rochelle Fang and as Trustee for Sagi Genger 1993 Trust.

BARBARA JAFFE, J.

This decision and order addresses motion sequence numbers 013, 014, 015, and 016. In motion sequence number 013, defendant TPR Investment Associates, Inc. (TPR) seeks an order granting it leave to amend its answer to add an affirmative defense of release, and granting it summary judgment dismissing the second amended complaint (complaint) of Orly Genger, in her individual capacity and on behalf of the Orly Genger 1993 Trust (Orly Trust) and on behalf of D & K Limited Partnership (D & K LP) (collectively, plaintiff). Plaintiff opposes and, by motion sequence number 014, cross moves for an order lifting the stay of discovery and for sanctions against defendants Dalia Genger, Sagi Genger, Leah Fang, D & K GP, LLC (D & K GP), and TPR.

In motion sequence number 015, brought on by order to show cause, plaintiff seeks, inter alia, to enjoin defendants preliminarily from foreclosing on the Orly Trust's interests in TPR and Trans Resources Inc. (TRI, a subsidiary of TPR), and to require Sagi and Dalia to post $4.44 million as security for certain debts that encumbered the Orly Trust's assets in a series of transactions whereby nonparty Manhattan Safety Company Ltd. (Manhattan Safety) was assigned a restated promissory note issued in 1993 by D & K LP in favor of TPR, the assignor.

In motion sequence number 016, Fang, the former trustee of the Orly Trust, seeks an order granting her summary judgment dismissing the complaint as against her.

The motions are consolidated for disposition.

I. BACKGROUND

The background of this action is set forth in several opinions and decisions of this court and the Delaware courts, among others. Additional background is furnished here to address the instant motions.

Arie Genger is Orly and Sagi's father, and Dalia's husband before their 2004 divorce. Arie founded TPR and TRI, and in 1993, he established the Orly Trust and the 1993 Sagi Genger Trust (Sagi Trust) (collectively, the Trusts) for his children as part of a family estate plan. He funded each Trust with a $600,000 gift and assigned each a 48 percent interest in D & K LP (Complaint, ¶ 19). The remaining 4 percent of D & K LP was held by Dalia, who also later held a 99 percent interest in D & K GP, the general partner of D & K LP. As a result, each Trust became a limited partner of D & K LP. ( Id., ¶ 20).

After the Trusts were funded, D & K LP purchased 240 shares of TPR's common stock for $10,200,000, a 49 percent interest. The purchase price was satisfied as follows: (1) the Trusts each paid $600,000; (2) Dalia paid $50,000, and (3) Dalia, as the general partner of D & K LP acting on its behalf, executed a promissory note in favor of TPR for $8,950,000 (1993 Note). The 1993 Note required that D & K LP repay principal and interest in annual installments over ten years, and the Trusts and Dalia assumed liability for repayment in proportion to their respective ownership interests in D & K LP. ( Id., ¶¶ 21-22). The 1993 Note was secured by D & K LP's pledge of its 240 shares in TPR (pledge). ( Id., ¶ 23). As a result, each of the Trusts held a 23.52 percent indirect interest in TPR, Dalia held a 1.96 percent indirect interest in TPR, and Arie held a 51 percent direct interest in TPR. ( Id., ¶ 24).

In the complaint, it is alleged that all of the Genger family members, including those who manage or control TPR, understood that the 1993 Note and Pledge were created solely for tax and estate planning purposes, and that they were not to be collected and enforced. ( Id., ¶ 25). It is also alleged that in the course of the arbitration proceedings conducted in connection with the 2004 Genger divorce, the 1993 Note was adjudicated as " worthless and uncollectible," based on the submissions and testimony of Dalia, as TPR's board member, Sagi, as TPR's president and CEO, and David Parnes, as TPR's vice president, that the 1993 Note and Pledge were " never intended to be enforced." ( Id., ¶ 26).

Pursuant to Arie's and Dalia's 2004 divorce settlement, Dalia obtained control of TPR, and in exchange, Arie and the trusts would directly hold their interests in TRI. The divorce stipulation provides that: (1) Dalia receive Arie's 51 percent interest in TPR and retain her 4 percent interest in D & K LP via D & K GP; and (2) TPR's 52.85 percent interest in TRI be transferred to Arie and the Trusts such that Arie would hold 13.99 percent of the TRI shares and each Trust would hold 19.43 percent of the TRI shares; with the remaining 47.15 percent of the TRI shares to be held by the " Trump Group," a TRI minority shareholder in 2004. ( Id., ¶ 28).

Dalia and Arie's bitter divorce spawned the allegations that Dalia and Sagi had colluded to destroy Arie financially, and that their actions threatened Orly's destruction as well. ( Id., ¶ 31). Soon after the divorce, Dalia ceded to Sagi control of TPR and D & K LP, and it is alleged that, by forming D & K GP, Dalia and Sagi attempted to shield themselves from personal liability stemming from their interests in D & K LP, while exposing the Trusts to potential liability to TPR on the 1993 Note. ( Id., ¶¶ 32-33). After Sagi obtained control from Dalia over TPR and its interest as payee on the 1993 Note, it is also alleged that he used his position as CEO of TPR and as manager of D & K LP to engage in self-dealing with respect to the 1993 Note in order to disadvantage Orly and the Orly Trust financially. ( Id., ¶¶ 37-41).

In 2007, Sagi's sister-in-law, defendant Fang, was appointed trustee of the Orly Trust. Orly alleges that Fang colluded with Sagi to diminish the value of the Orly Trust by entering into agreements that would allow the Orly Trust's interest in the TPR shares and the TRI shares to be pledged or encumbered by Sagi and/or TPR without notice to Orly. ( Id., ¶¶ 43-44). Specifically, in November 2007, Fang as trustee and Sagi as manager of D & K GP, the general partner of D & K LP, signed the " Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement" of D & K LP (D & K Agreement), which granted D & K GP the authority to pledge or otherwise encumber Orly Trust's interest in the TRI shares for the benefit of the partnership, without providing any notice or benefit to Orly and the Orly Trust. ( Id., ¶¶ 72-75). In January 2008, upon Fang's resignation, Dalia was appointed as successor trustee to the Orly Trust, and then divested herself of her interest in the TPR shares. ( Id., ¶ 39).

In January 2009, Dalia, as successor trustee to the Orly Trust, and Sagi, on behalf of D & K GP, along with TPR, then under Sagi's control, entered into an agreement entitled " Meeting of Partners of D & K LP," in which it was agreed that D & K GP would sign for D & K LP and its limited partners when making their assets subject to a pledge in the same manner that the TPR shares were pledged in conjunction with the 1993 Note (Meeting Agreement). ( Id., ¶ 76). The D & K Agreement and the Meeting Agreement were prepared and executed without Orly's knowledge, even though ...


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