The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress and Judiciary Law 487 causes of action against defendant attorneys should have dismissed for failure to state causes of action:
The plaintiff and the defendant Janet P. Lezama were married … . … Lezama commenced an action for a divorce … in which she was represented by the defendants Dana Navins and Kass & Navins, PLLC … . After the divorce … , the plaintiff commenced this action against Lezama and the attorney defendants to recover damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of Judiciary Law § 487 based on allegations that the defendants concocted a “plan” to obtain a divorce against the plaintiff and obtain an excessive “financial settlement.” … [P]laintiff alleged that, as part of this plan, Lezama made false allegations of child abuse and criminal conduct against the plaintiff. * * *
“To be held liable for false arrest, [a civilian] defendant must have affirmatively induced the officer to act, such as taking an active part in the arrest and procuring it to be made or showing active, officious and undue zeal, to the point where the officer is not acting of his or her own volition” … . Similarly, to be held liable for malicious prosecution, it must be shown that the defendant played an active role in the prosecution, such as giving advice and encouragement or importuning the authorities to act … . “Merely giving false information to the authorities does not constitute initiation of the proceeding without an additional allegation or showing that, at the time the information was provided, the defendant knew it to be false, yet still gave it to the police or District Attorney” … . * * *
With respect to the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action, the improper conduct alleged was not “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community” … . With respect to the Judiciary Law § 487 cause of action, the plaintiff failed to allege with specificity any material misstatements of fact made by the attorney defendants in the divorce action with the intent to deceive that court … . Tueme v Lezama, 2023 NY Slip Op 03036, Second Dept 6-7-23
Practice Point: The complaint did not state causes of action for false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress or violation of Judiciary Law 487, criteria explained.