FRANCES C. PETERS, Plaintiff,
UBS AG, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
PAULA. CROTTY, District Judge.
Plaintiff Frances C. Peters ("Plaintiff') sued UBS AG ("Defendant") and UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd. ("Trustee"), among others, in New York State Supreme Court, alleging that they interfered with her access to distributions from a Bahamian trust (the "Mimosa Trust") established in Greece and funded by Swiss bank accounts. On July 11, 2011, the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the complaint against the Defendant and Trustee for forum non conviens, and the First Department affirmed the decision. Plaintiff now seeks to relitigate the same claims against the Defendant on the basis of allegedly "new" evidence uncovered during discovery in the State proceeding.
For the following reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
Plaintiff is a beneficiary of the Mimosa Trust, which was established by her late aunt Athena Eliades ("Eliades"). Compl. ¶¶ 6, 13-14. Eliades was a Greek citizen who resided in Greece and maintained accounts with UBS AG. Id. ¶ 15. Between November and December 2000, Eliades established the Mimosa Trust by signing documents at her home in Greece, in the presence of the Defendant's employee. Id. ¶ 17. These documents included a deed (the "Mimosa Trust Deed") and a letter describing how distributions should be made from the trust (the "Mimosa Letter of Wishes"). Defendant subsequently selected UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd. as Trustee for the Mimosa Trust. Id. ¶ 18. In the summer of 2002, Plaintiff was shown documents that indicated that she had an interest in accounts with balances of over $25.3 million, $16.6 million, and $752 million, among others. Id. ¶ 23.
Eliades died on January 13, 2003. Id. ¶ 20. At her death, the money in the Mimosa Trust was approximately $22, 568, 564. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff was told that Defendant distributed the funds of the Mimosa Trust pursuant to the Mimosa Trust Letter of Wishes, but she received only $117, 000. Id. ¶ 28.
II. Procedural History of New York State Proceedings
In 2004, Plaintiff filed a complaint in New York State Supreme Court against her mother and brother alleging that they had misappropriated millions of dollars from off-shore trusts established by Eliades (the "State action"). See Declaration of Mark G. Hanchet ("Hanchet Decl."), Ex. C at 2. As part of discovery, Plaintiff was shown documents by Defendant that counsel represented were true copies of the Mimosa Trust Deed and Letter of Wishes. Compl. ¶ 31; see Declaration of Leslie Trager ("Trager Decl."), Exs. A & D. The Mimosa Letter of Wishes was dated November 18, 2000 and described the beneficiaries as those sharing in two bank accounts at UBS AG. Compl. ¶ 35; see Trager Decl., Ex. A. The two bank account numbers were handwritten on the document. Compl. ¶ 36; see Trager Decl., Ex. A.
On September 14, 2009, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, which added Defendant and Trustee as defendants. Plaintiff alleged that the two entities breached their fiduciary duties by intentionally and wrongfully distributing millions of dollars to Plaintiffs mother and brother in contravention of Eliades's express wishes. See Hanchet Decl., Ex. B ¶ 3. Additionally, Plaintiff claimed that the defendants conspired to cover up their misappropriation by providing Plaintiff with incomplete and inconsistent copies of the Mimosa Trust Deed and Letter of Wishes. See id., Ex. B ¶ 7. On July 11, 2011, New York State Supreme Court Justice Kapnick dismissed the first amended complaint against Defendant on the grounds of forum non conviens, held that Switzerland was the appropriate forum, and that the dismissal was without prejudice to recommencement in the appropriate jurisdictions. See id., Ex. C, at 26-30. Justice Kapnick based this holding on the "fortuitous connection to New York, " the location of witnesses and documentary evidence in Switzerland, the need to apply Swiss law, and the availability of Switzerland as a forum for the dispute. See id., Ex. C, at 26-30. On December 4, 2012, the First Department affirmed the decision in all respects. See id., Ex. D.
In October 2012, Plaintiff received documents from Defendant's counsel that showed that the two accounts handwritten on the Mimosa Letter of Wishes did not exist on the date the document was signed. Compl. ¶ 37. Additionally, Plaintiff learned that the amount of the trust funds held in one of the accounts was at least $44, 138, 797, or approximately double the amount said to have existed by Defendant. Id.
III. Procedural History of Bahamian Proceedings
On November 6, 2009, UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd. brought an action in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas, Equity Side seeking declaratory judgment regarding the authenticity of the Mimosa Trust Deed and Letter of Wishes. See Hanchet Decl., Ex. E. The Trustee named Plaintiff and the other purported trust beneficiaries in its action. See id., Ex. E. On January 29, 2010, the court held that the two documents were authentic and that the documents could be disclosed during the ongoing ...