Stella Stolper v. Zarina Burbacki (Index No. 652352/2018)

Russo PLLC successfully defeated Zarina Burbacki’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, on the basis of documentary evidence, and on the basis of a release.  Justice Borrok held that the Mutual Release provision in a settlement agreement between Plaintiff and a third party applied to the parties and each other’s lawyers, agents, and others, and did not bar any claims by Plaintiff against her own lawyer, regardless of certain carve outs in the release provision.  Furthermore, the email submitted by defendant as purported documentary evidence did not utterly refute plaintiff’s allegations that Ms. Burbacki was hired as plaintiff’s attorney; in fact, it emphasized that Ms. Burbacki “was hired as more than an assistant.”  Similarly, Plaintiff’s cross-complaint against another third party that was submitted by Ms. Burbacki as documentary evidence failed to conclusively establish a defense to plaintiff’s defamation claim and, in fact, was “entirely consistent with the version of events described in the Amended Complaint in this action.”  Lastly, Court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss Ms. Stolper’s defamation and legal malpractice claims, finding both causes of action to have been sufficiently pled, and denied Ms. Burbacki’s application for attorneys’ fees because plaintiff’s claims were not frivolous. To see the decision, click here.

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