Thursday, December 15, 2011
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department afforded full faith and credit to a New Jersey judgment against a New York attorney.
The plaintiff hired the defendant, an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York, to represent him in a transaction for the purchase of certain real property located in New Jersey. The plaintiff and the defendant are both New York residents. The defendant is not licensed to practice law in New Jersey and did not physically enter New Jersey in connection with the transaction. He negotiated the transaction by mail and telephone with the New Jersey attorney of the New Jersey owner of the property, and conducted the closing by mail in the New Jersey office of the seller's attorney. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant in New Jersey, alleging that the defendant committed malpractice in connection with the transaction. The defendant did not appear or defend that action, and a judgment was entered against him upon his default. The plaintiff then commenced this action in New York to enforce the New Jersey judgment, proceeding by motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint pursuant to CPLR 3213. The defendant opposed the motion on the ground that the New Jersey court did not have personal jurisdiction over him and, therefore, that the New Jersey judgment was not entitled to full faith and credit. In an order dated November 12, 2010, the Supreme Court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. In an order entered February 1, 2011, the Supreme Court, upon reargument, in effect, adhered to the prior determination granting the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. We affirm the order insofar as appealed from.
The holding on appeal:
Here, the defendant's purposeful conduct in negotiating a transaction by mail and telephone with the New Jersey attorney for a New Jersey seller of property located in New Jersey established a sufficient basis for the exercise of long-arm jurisdiction over the defendant, consistent with due process. Thus, the Supreme Court properly determined that the New Jersey judgment was entitled to full faith and credit. (citations omitted)