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Jeremy S. Pitcock v. Kasowitz

June 25, 2012

JEREMY S. PITCOCK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
KASOWITZ, BENSON, TORRES & FRIEDMAN, L.L.P., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-1124-11.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Skillman, J.A.D.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION

Submitted March 5, 2012

Before Judges Parrillo, Alvarez and Skillman.

The opinion of the court was delivered by SKILLMAN, J.A.D.

(retired and temporarily assigned on recall).

The issue presented by this appeal is whether the applicable New Jersey or New York statute of limitations governs an action for malicious use of process based on a lawsuit filed in New York that arose out of a dispute centered in New York. We conclude that under the "most significant relationship" test that now controls the resolution of choice-of-law questions in tort actions, New York's one-year limitations period for filing such a claim requires the dismissal of this action.

I.

Defendant Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, L.L.P. (the Firm) is a New York law firm with a satellite office in Newark. Plaintiff was a partner in the Firm's New York City office who served as the head of its Intellectual Property Department.

In December 2007, the Firm terminated plaintiff based on his alleged sexual harassment of female employees in its New York City office.

Plaintiff filed an action in July 2008 in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, claiming that the Firm had defamed him by circulating false statements concerning the reasons for his termination. Shortly thereafter, the Firm filed a separate action against plaintiff, also in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, asserting claims for breach of contract and fiduciary duty, based on plaintiff's alleged improper conduct while a partner. The trial court consolidated these actions.

On October 1, 2009, the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, issued a written decision and order dismissing both actions. Plaintiff's action was dismissed primarily on the ground that he admitted to having engaged in some of the sexually harassing conduct which formed the basis for the Firm's alleged defamatory statements about him. The Firm's action was dismissed primarily on the ground that it failed to allege any actual damages as a result of plaintiff's alleged improper conduct while a partner.

On June 17, 2010, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the ...


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