Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Galland v. Kutner

United States District Court, S.D. New York

September 29, 2014

CLAUDE GALLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES KUTNER, BRUCE FRIEDRICH, and HENRY SCHWARTZ, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

RONNIE ABRAMS, District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff Claude Galland brings this action against attorneys Charles Kutner, Bruce Friedrich, and Henry Schwartz ("Defendants"). Galland asserts claims based on Defendants' conduct in two previous cases in New York State Supreme Court. Defendants each filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(l) and 12(b)(6). For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motions to dismiss are granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

I. Galland's First State-Court Action

On November 1, 2007, Galland filed tort claims for dental malpractice against three dentists and their dental practices (the "Dental Defendants") in New York State Supreme Court. (Dkt. 31-12.) Defendant Friedrich represented one of the dentists, Dr. Leichtung, and his practice in that matter, and Defendant Schwartz represented a second dentist, Dr. Morton, as well as his practice. (Friedrich Deel. ¶ 7; Schwartz Mem. of Law 2.) Defendant Kutner is a senior partner in the same firm as Friedrich, although Kutner was not involved in Galland's dental malpractice case. (Friedrich Deel. ¶¶ 3, 23.)

During the course of the first action, the state court entered several orders, which Galland references in his Federal complaint. On April 5, 2010, the court entered an order directing supervision of discovery (Dkt. 32-12), and on March 31, 2011, the court summarily denied a motion by Galland to strike the Dental Defendants' answers for spoliation of evidence, (Dkt. 32-14.) Galland also complains of a February 1, 2010 state-court order consolidating a small claims action with the larger, New York State Supreme Court dental malpractice action. (Dkt. 31-5; Compl. at 3.) Galland asserts that he filed the small claims action to send "a message of zerotolerance and prevention from further lying to a Judge, " after the Dental Defendants and their attorneys allegedly made several misrepresentations to the state-court judge presiding over the dental malpractice action. (Id.) In his Complaint, Galland also references "secret taped recordings" he considered "sufficient proof for his claim" that were purportedly admitted as evidence by the state court but never considered due to "profiteering-futile" motions by the Dental Defendants and their attorneys. (Id.)

On January 16, 2014, the state court granted summary judgment in favor of Dr. Morton. (Dkt. 32-1.) On April 10, 2014, approximately two months after Galland filed the current action, the state court granted summary judgment in favor of Dr. Leichtung, disposing of Galland's last remaining claim and closing the case. (Dkt. 31-4.) The third dentist and her practice settled with Galland and are not parties to the instant case. (Dkt. 31-4; Friedrich Deel. ¶¶ 8, 17.)

2. Galland's Second State-Court Action

In November 2013, Galland commenced a second lawsuit in Supreme Court, this time against Defendants Kutner and Schwartz as well as their clients. (Dkt. 31-11; Friedrich Deel. ¶ 9; Schwartz Mem. of Law 6.) He asserted claims for abuse of process, perjury, and fraud based on their allegedly improper conduct as attorneys in his first state-court action. (Dkt. 31-11.)

On December 31, 2013 and January 8, 2014, the defendants filed separate motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim arguing, inter alia, that under the New York common law doctrine of litigants' privilege ("New York's litigants' privilege") liability cannot be imposed for statements made during Galland's first state-court case. (Dkt. 31-13, 32-8.) Galland does not appear to have opposed either motion. On April 1, 2014, only two months after Galland filed his current action before this Court, the state court granted Schwartz's motion to dismiss in a summary order that did not enumerate the grounds for dismissal. (Dkt. 32-6.) On April 14, 2014, the state court granted Kutner's motion to dismiss "for the reasons stated in the motion." (Dkt. 32-7.) It is not clear on which individual grounds the state-court dismissals relied, only that Galland's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

3. The Instant Action

Galland filed his Complaint in this Court on January 21, 2014, while Schwartz and Kutner's motions to dismiss the second action remained pending. On February 21, 2014, Defendants Friedrich and Kutner moved to dismiss Galland's Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim (Dkt. 14), ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.