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WCM Prevails in Federal Appellate Court in Dispute over Antique Bible (NY)

April 29, 2016

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The plaintiffs in <em>Samuels v. Greenberg </em>claimed that the Greenbergs unlawfully possessed an antique Bible, which had allegedly been loaned by the plaintiffs’ father to Mrs. Greenberg's father many years ago. The defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that they had never possessed the alleged Bible or had any knowledge of it, and regardless the conversion claim was time barred by the three year statute of limitations. Judge Irizarry of the Eastern District of New York ruled that the plaintiffs’ cause of action accrued, “at the latest,” in 2008 when one of the plaintiffs initiated arbitration proceedings in a rabbinical court, and as such the statute of limitations expired prior to the suit being filed.
On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the District Court erred by imputing the actions of one owner of the Bible to the other plaintiffs. In response, WCM attorneys Michael Bono and Christopher Soverow argued that NY does not have a "discovery rule" and therefore the accrual of the statute of limitation runs from the date the conversion takes place, and not from discovery or the exercise of diligence to discover. The <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Second Circuit Agreed</a>, and held that, “because New York does not apply a discovery rule to conversion and replevin claims, it does not matter whether all of the Appellants were aware of the beis din or [the plaintiff]’s earlier efforts to recover the Bible.”  The Second Circuit thus affirmed Judge Irizarry’s opinion that the claim accrued, “at the latest,” in 2008 and the complaint remained dismissed.
Thanks to Chris Soverow for his contribution to this post and please write to <a href="mailto:">Mike Bono</a> for more information.

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