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Did Greenberg hide tea-time document incineration accident? Claim won’t be heard; case is tossed

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Did Greenberg hide tea-time document incineration accident? Claim won’t be heard; case is tossed

Jan 23, 2013, 12:30 pm CST

An appeals court has tossed a lawsuit accusing Greenberg Traurig of failing to disclose that a document central to its client’s defense was “burned under highly suspicious circumstances”—a claimed tea-time incineration accident.

Greenberg won dismissal of the suit by plaintiff James Melcher on statute of limitations grounds, the New York Law Journal reports. Melcher had sued under a New York law providing for treble damages when a lawyer participates in “deceit or collusion” with the intent to deceive a court or a litigant. The New York Appellate Division, First Department, ruled for the law firm in a 3-2 opinion last week.

Melcher, a former member of the hedge fund Apollo Medical Fund Management, had claimed Greenberg Traurig deceived a Manhattan court in his prior suit for a share of hedge fund profits.

The alleged deception: Greenberg had represented it was holding in escrow a document reducing Melcher’s membership rights in the fund. But firm didn’t disclose that the document had been partly incinerated by a hedge fund principal who claimed he accidentally set fire to the paper while making tea, Melcher claims.

Melcher was awarded $500,000 in his prior suit against the hedge fund, the New York Law Journal says.

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