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Court Reviews Personal Jurisdiction in Divorce Case


This is an instant case being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County. The case involves legal malpractice claims made by the plaintiffs, Vladimira Koch, (Vladka),Michal Koch, and several video companies that Vladimira Koch holds ownership interests in. The claims are made against the defendants, who were former counsels that represented Vladimira Koch during her divorce preceding. The defendants include Sheresky, Aronson, & Mayefsky, LLP, David Aronson individually, Brager, Wexler, Eagel & Morgenstern, P.C., Raymond A. Brager individually, Ragues & Min, Esq., Raymond Ragues individually, D’Agostino & Salvi, LLP and Frank J. Salvi individually.

A New York Family Lawyer said the Brager, Salvi, and Aronson defendants have each filed a motion seeking dismissal of the complaints made against them on various grounds. In opposition to these motions the plaintiffs have filed a cross motion for an order to extend their time to complete the service of process.

Case Background

The plaintiff, Vladka Koch is a Czech national who met Robert Koch, a United States citizen when he was on a business trip in 1991 in the former Czechoslovakia. Robert Koch was in the business of producing and distributing naturist videos. Vladka started to work with him after they met. The couple entered a partnership agreement in 1997 and formed several video companies. The couple lived together in what is now known as the Czech Republic from 1997 through 2003. The couple was married in a civil ceremony that took place in New York in the year 2000. The couple never resided together in the United States. In 2003, Robert adopted Vladka’s son Michal. Allegedly, Robert abandoned both Vladka and Michal in 2003 when he left the Czech Republic and returned to the United States.

A New York Custody Lawyer said Robert began a divorce action against Vladka in February of 2004 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Westchester County. Robert retained the Salvi defendants for counsel in the proceeding. Vladka retained the Brager defendants to represent her in the divorce matter.

The complaint made by Vladka states that unknown to her the Brager defendants engaged the Aronson defendants as co-counsel in the matter. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the complaint alleges that the Aronson defendants appeared in court, conducted negotiations, and participated in the divorce action on her behalf. This complaint is un-denied.

The complaint further alleges that both the Brager and Aronson defendants failed to challenge the service or process in the case, the venue, and the subject matter as well as personal jurisdictions. The Brager and Aronson defendants both withdrew their representation of Vladka in September of 2004 without the divorce being resolved. Vladka then retained the Ragues defendants for representation.

Case Discussion and Decision

The complaint in this particular action contains 18 causes of action. The moving defendants have motioned to have the complaints against them dismissed. The Divorce Court issued their decision and order on the 23rd of October, 2008. The judgment of divorce was in favor of Vladka.

A Nassau County Custody Lawyer said the court has reviewed all of the causes of action in this matter and its is determined that the motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by the Brager and Aronson defendants is denied. The cross motion by the plaintiff for an order deeming the service or process complete is granted and the motion made by the defendants to dismiss the legal malpractice claims are denied.

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