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Manolis v. Brecher

United States District Court, Second Circuit

August 9, 2013

ANGIE JOAN MANOLIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL BRECHER, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

HENRY P MAN, Magistrate Judge.

I. Introduction

I write to resolve the outstanding discovery issues in this action: (1) a non-party's motion to quash plaintiff's subpoena and (2) plaintiff's application for leave to file a motion to compel and for sanctions. Plaintiff Angie Joan Manolis, a Greek attorney, commenced this action against defendant Daniel Brecher, also an attorney, based on Brecher's alleged failure to assist her with her application to practice pro hac vice in New York State's courts. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to quash is granted, and Manolis's application for leave to file a motion to compel and for sanctions is denied.

II. Background

The facts underlying this action are set forth in the decision of the Honorable Richard M. Berman, United States District Judge. See Manolis v. Brecher, 11 Civ. 2750 (RMB)(HBP), 2012 WL 527450 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2012) (Berman, D.J.). I assume familiarity with this decision and recite the facts here only insofar as they are relevant to the instant disputes.

Manolis represented three clients in arbitrations against Subway Internal B.V. before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, which granted in part and denied in part the relief requested by Manolis's clients. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. Manolis then sought to file petitions to modify these awards in New York State Supreme Court. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. Because she was not admitted in New York State, Manolis sought to be admitted on a pro hac vice basis. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. She contacted Brecher to assist her in "the preparation and filing of" these motions. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2 (quoting Second Amended Complaint at 5). On September 8, 2010, the parties entered into an engagement letter, which provided in pertinent part:

We have not been retained to appear or to represent any one [sic] in any actions or proceedings, and our services are presently limited to ministerial assistance to you in your preparation and filing of your pro hac vice applications.... [I]f we are requested to do work or provide services beyond assisting you in your preparation of the pro hac vice applications, that will be the subject of a separate agreement....

Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. Manolis paid Brecher $2, 500 as a retainer and $150 for filing fees.

Manolis alleges that on September 9, 2010, she asked Brecher to sign a separate retainer agreement to serve as local counsel in the three underlying actions, but Brecher refused to do so. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. Manolis further alleges that Brecher refused to "hand over the documents" for her pro hac vice admissions. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2. Finally, "[w]hile Manolis does not specify what legal work, if any, Brecher performed, she alleges that Brecher did not appear in [c]ourt [as local counsel] to assist [in] the filing of the [pro hac vice] [m]otions, ' and the motions were never filed.'" Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *2.

On February 16, 2012, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), Judge Berman dismissed Manolis's claims for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *6. Judge Berman denied Brecher's motion to dismiss as to Manolis's breach of contract claim. Specifically, he found:

Manolis has adequately pled a breach of contract. See [ Johnson v. Nextel Commc'n, Inc. , 660 F.3d 131, 142 (2d Cir. 2011)]. Manolis alleges that (i) she and Brecher entered into the Engagement Letter on September 8, 201[0] pursuant to which she agreed to pay him a $2, 500 retainer fee for his assistance "in the preparation and filing" of motions for pro hac vice admission; (ii) she paid Brecher the $2, 500 retainer fee; (iii) Brecher did not file the motions (or hand over the motion documents); and (iv) she was damaged in the amount (at least) of $2, 500. (Second Am. Compl. at 5, 11, 15); see Ideal Steel Supply v. Beil , 55 A.D.3d 544, 546, 865 N.Y.S.2d 299 (N.Y.App.Div. 2008); Henry v. Brenner , 271 A.D.2d 647, 648, 706 N.Y.S.2d 465 (N.Y.App.Div. 2000).

Manolis v. Brecher, supra, 2012 WL 527450 at *3.

By Order dated June 21, 2012, Judge Berman referred to me the resolution of certain outstanding discovery disputes (Docket Item 55). By a letter dated July 9, 2012, the parties jointly outlined the outstanding discovery issues in this action: (1) non-party Edna Sussman's motion to quash the subpoena served upon her by Manolis and (2) Manolis's request for permission to file a motion to compel and a motion for sanctions ...


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