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Wife Claims Emotional Distress, Fraud in Divorce Proceedings


This is a case being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The appellant in this case is Xiao Yang Chen and the respondent in the matter is Ian Ira Fischer. The appellant is seeking to appeal an order that was made in the Supreme Court of Westchester County that granted the defendant the motion to dismiss the complaint made against him on the grounds of res judicata.

A New York Family Lawyer said the action that is being brought forth by Xiao Yang Chen is seeking to recover damages for personal injuries that she allegedly sustained from the hands of her ex husband, Ian Ira Fischer while they were married. The issue before the court is whether the judgment for divorce dated the 8th of May, 2002 bars Chen from seeking this action based on the alleged and tortuous acts that allegedly took place during the marriage.

Case Background

The couple was married on the 11th of March, 2001. On the 8th of June, 2001, after just 89 days of marriage, Fischer brought forth an action for divorce alleging based on claims of cruel and inhuman treatment from Chen. In July of 2001, Chen interposed counterclaims in the action seeking a divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment from Fischer. Chen also entered a cause of action seeking damages for fraud.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the couple entered a stipulation agreement on the 15th of October, 2001, settling the claims for divorce. Each of the parties withdrew their complaints of cruel and inhuman treatment against the other. This resulted in a dual divorce being granted to the parties.

A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the trial was held in regard to the other issues including the equitable distribution of the marital property as well as the claim of fraud made by Chen against Fischer. On the 8th of May, 2002, the couple was granted a divorce based on grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. The fraud cause of action was dismissed for failure of proof.

Case Discussion and Decision

Before the reciprocal divorce was granted, but subsequently to the parties entering a stipulation of settlement to resolve the issue of fault, Chen instituted an instant action on the 18th of January, 2002 seeking to recover damages for personal injuries. Chen claims emotional distress during their marriage as she states that Fischer repeatedly accused her of cheating on him and threatened to lock her out of the home.

The Supreme Court determined that the personal injury action made by Chen was barred based on the doctrine of res judicata. The Supreme Court reasoned that the relief that was being sought was predicated on identical transactions that were of issue during the matrimonial action. A Nassau County Custody Lawyer said these issues were resolved during the matrimonial action when both parties agreed to drop the charges.

After reviewing the facts of the case and the initial ruling in the matter, the court has determined that the Supreme Court was correct in its ruling. The appeal is denied and the original order in the matter is confirmed with costs to the appellant.

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