Part of a lawsuit filed by three elderly sisters against Edwin J. Shoemaker, a Lockport lawyer, was dismissed Monday in State Supreme Court.
Justice Norman E. Joslin dismissed civil complaints of fraud, conspiracy and conflict of interest which were filed by the three Shellberry sisters of Newfane. A complaint of negligence remains to be litigated, however.
Louise, Margaret and Marie Shellberry, all of whom are in their 70s, claimed that the late Robert A. Albright, a cousin of Shoemaker, defrauded them of more than $100,000 in retirement savings.
The Niagara County district attorney's office said said Albright had persuaded the three sisters to invest their retirement savings in "Town of Lockport municipal bonds."
Albright allegedly told the sisters to make checks out to Shoemaker, who deposited them in his law firm's bank account. Shoemaker then wrote checks for the same amounts to Albright to buy the bonds, but Albright allegedly converted the money to his own use. The funds have never been found.
The sisters contend in their lawsuit that negligence by Shoemaker allowed his cousin to steal their money. "The sisters believe Mr. Shoemaker should have done a better job of looking out for their interests," according to Diane R. Tiveron, an attorney for the three Newfane women.
Albright, who was a longtime family friend of the Shellberrys, was a former assessor for the Town of Lockport. He died in October 1995.
Shoemaker was represented in court by his law partner, Robert S. Roberson.