de Beeck v. Costa

NEW YORK COUNTY
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Martin Schoenfeld

Plaintiff de Beeck, a citizen of Peru, sought a declaratory judgment that she was the owner of the bearer shares of Williamsport Capital, a British Virgin Island company, and that she therefore controlled its Israeli Discount Bank account, located in New York. She also brought claims against her former psychologist, a citizen of Argentina, for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. The court noted that the defaulting defendant, who lived out of the country, sent it several letters indicating his interest in the outcome of the proceeding. The court found that the holding of a hearing at which de Beeck had the burden of establishing "a right to a declaration" that she owned the Williamsport bearer shares was required. The court also decided to apply New York law, finding no "meaningful conflict" between New York's and Argentina's laws of fraud, unjust enrichment or fiduciary duty that would have a substantive impact on the case. The court granted a default judgment on the claims of fraud and unjust enrichment as to the "investment" money de Beeck gave defendant. However, while it further granted a default judgment as to the claim of breach of fiduciary duty, it limited recovery to fees paid for "therapy" services.

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