Mandamus

Matter of Menkes v Molia, 2019 NY Slip Op 06493 [2d Dept. 2019]

The extraordinary remedy of mandamus will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial act, and only where there exists a clear legal right to the relief sought (see Matter of Legal Aid Socy. of Sullivan County v Scheinman , 53 NY2d 12, 16). “Because of its extraordinary nature, prohibition is available only where there is a clear legal right, and then only when a court—in cases where judicial authority is challenged—acts or threatens to act either without jurisdiction or in excess of its authorized powers” (Matter of Holtzman v Goldman , 71 NY2d 564, 569; see Matter of Rush v Mordue , 68 NY2d 348, 352). The petitioner has failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to the relief sought.

More discovery fun time

Kiernan v Booth Mem. Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06596 [2d Dept. 2019]

“A party is not entitled to unlimited, uncontrolled, unfettered disclosure” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 83 AD3d 998, 998; see McAlwee v Westchester Health Assoc., PLLC, 163 AD3d 547, 548). ” The supervision of disclosure and the setting of reasonable terms and conditions therefor rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and, absent an improvident exercise of that discretion, its determination will not be disturbed'” (Montalvo v CVS Pharm., Inc., 102 AD3d 842, 843, quoting Mattocks v White Motor Corp., 258 AD2d 628, 629 [citation omitted]). Here, the plaintiffs’ request for additional information and color photographs of certain Forest View personnel who worked on the floor where the decedent resided on February 5 and 6, 2008, was palpably improper because it was overbroad and unduly burdensome (see JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v Levenson, 149 AD3d 1053, 1055; Stepping Stones Assoc., L.P. v Scialdone, 148 AD3d 855, 856; Pesce v Fernandez, 144 AD3d 653, 655; Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was to compel the production of such material.

Kiernan v Booth Mem. Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06597 [2d Dept. 2019]

“The determination whether to strike a pleading or to preclude evidence for failure to comply with court-ordered disclosure lies within the sound discretion of the court” (Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d 611, 612; see Neenan v Quinton, 110 AD3d 967, 968). However, the drastic remedy of striking a pleading or even precluding evidence pursuant to CPLR 3126 should not be imposed absent a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery demands or orders was willful and contumacious (see MacKenzie v City of New York, 125 AD3d 821, 822; Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d at 612; Gutman v Cabrera, 121 AD3d 1042, 1043). Here, Forest View timely complied with the court-ordered discovery and adequately explained that it had previously disclosed the identity of the health aides and their employment statuses on September 14, 2017. Thus, there was no clear showing that Forest View engaged in any willful and contumacious noncompliance with regard to disclosure in this matter (see e.g. MacKenzie v City of New York, 125 AD3d at 822; Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d at 612).

On Summary Judgment [CPLR 3212]

Nill v Schneider, 173 AD3d 753 [2d Dept. 2019]

“It is a defendant’s burden, when it is the party moving for summary judgment, to demonstrate affirmatively the merits of a defense, which cannot be sustained by pointing out gaps in the plaintiff’s proof” (Quantum Corporate Funding, Ltd. v Ellis, 126 AD3d 866, 871 [2015]).

Rivera v City of New York, 173 AD3d 790 [2d Dept. 2019]

We also agree with the Supreme Court’s determination denying that branch of Carter’s motion which was for summary judgment dismissing all cross claims insofar as asserted against it. The papers submitted in support of the motion failed to include copies of the relevant pleadings as required by CPLR 3212 (b), thereby precluding review of the purported cross claims (see Mieles v Tarar, 100 AD3d 719, 720 [2012]; Matsyuk v Konkalipos, 35 AD3d 675, 676 [2006]; Wider v Heller, 24 AD3d 433, 434 [2005]).

Bargil Assoc., LLC v Crites, 173 AD3d 958 [2d Dept. 2019]

Motions for summary judgment “shall be made no later than one hundred twenty days after the filing of the note of issue” (CPLR 3212 [a]) unless the Supreme Court has set a different deadline. A party may not file a late summary judgment motion without leave of the court “on good cause shown” (CPLR 3212 [a]), which requires the movant to articulate a “satisfactory explanation for the untimeliness” of the motion (Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 648, 652 [2004]; see Milano v George, 17 AD3d 644, 645 [2005]). “In the absence of a showing of good cause for the delay in filing a motion for summary judgment, the court has no discretion to entertain even a meritorious, nonprejudicial motion for summary judgment” (Bivona v Bob’s Discount Furniture of NY, LLC, 90 AD3d 796, 796 [2011] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Greenpoint Props., Inc. v Carter, 82 AD3d 1157, 1158 [2011]).

Here, the plaintiff’s motion was made almost five years after the 120-day deadline expired. The plaintiff failed to demonstrate, in its moving papers, good cause for not filing the motion in a timely manner, and only attempted to do so, improperly for the first time, in its reply papers (see Nationstar Mtge., LLC v Weisblum, 143 AD3d 866, 869 [2016]).  Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination denying, as untimely, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

Mazzurco v Gordon, 173 AD3d 1003 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, the defendants failed to meet their initial burden on their motion. The defendants sought to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by relying on the Supreme Court’s preclusion order, but they failed to demonstrate, prima facie, that the plaintiff could not meet his burden of proof at trial through evidence other than the precluded fact witnesses. To the contrary, the defendants’ own motion papers demonstrated the availability of other proof on which the plaintiff could rely at trial. Accordingly, we agree with the court’s determination to deny the defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, regardless of the sufficiency of the opposition papers (see Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853 [1985]).

Saunders v J.P.Z. Realty, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 06573 [1st Dept. 2019]

 In this regard, CPLR 3212(b) provides that a summary judgment motion “shall be supported by affidavit” of a person “having knowledge of the facts” as well as other admissible evidence (see GTF Mktg. v Colonial Aluminum Sales , 66 NY2d 965, 967 [1985]). A conclusory affidavit or an affidavit by an individual without personal knowledge of the facts does not establish the proponent’s prima facie burden (see e.g. Vermette v Kenworth Truck Co. , 68 NY2d 714 [1986]).

Painful IME

Goldson v Mann, 173 AD3d 410 [1st Dept. 2019]

Defendant failed to meet his prima facie burden of demonstrating that he did not depart from good and accepted medical practice in examining plaintiff during an independent medical examination (IME), or that any such departure was not a proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury to her left shoulder (see Scalisi v Oberlander, 96 AD3d 106, 120 [1st Dept 2012]). Defendant’s expert affirmation, which relied on defendant’s testimony regarding his custom and practice of examining patients during his IMEs, was insufficient. Defendant’s testimony did not establish a deliberate and repetitive practice sufficient to show evidence of his behavior during plaintiff’s examination, as he testified that his examination varied depending on the examinee (see Rivera v Anilesh, 8 NY3d 627, 634 [2007]). Therefore, the expert’s reliance on such testimony to conclude that defendant had not deviated from the accepted standard of care rendered his affirmation insufficient (compare id. at 635-636).

Defendant’s expert also failed to establish that defendant did not cause or exacerbate plaintiff’s left shoulder condition. He failed to address differences in plaintiff’s MRI findings or statements made by plaintiff’s treating physician, which suggested that plaintiff had suffered a new injury after the IME. The expert also ignored plaintiff’s testimony that defendant had forcefully pushed her left arm over her head and caused a new injury (see Wasserman v Carella, 307 AD2d 225, 226 [1st Dept 2003]), and provided no support for his statement that plaintiff’s post-IME injuries were degenerative in nature, and not traumatically induced (see Frias v James, 69 AD3d 466, 467 [1st Dept 2010]).

Necessary parties. CPLR 1001

Miller v Wendy Joan St. Wecker Trust U/A Aug. 28, 1997, 173 AD3d 1007 [2d Dept. 2019]

Necessary parties are persons “who might be inequitably affected by a judgment in the action” and must be made plaintiffs or defendants (CPLR 1001 [a]). CPLR 1001 (b) requires the court to order such persons summoned, where they are subject to the court’s jurisdiction. If jurisdiction over such necessary parties can be obtained only by their consent or appearance, the court is to determine, in accordance with CPLR 1001 (b), whether justice requires that the action proceed in their absence (see CPLR 1001 [b]). The nonjoinder of necessary parties may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, by any party or by the court on its own motion, including for the first time on appeal (see City of New York v Long Is. Airports Limousine Serv. Corp., 48 NY2d 469, 475 [1979]; Matter of Lezette v Board of Educ., Hudson City School Dist., 35 NY2d 272, 282 [1974]; Censi v Cove Landings, Inc., 65 AD3d 1066, 1067-1068 [2009]; Migliore v Manzo, 28 AD3d 620, 621 [2006]; Vincent C. Alexander, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C1003:1; see also CPLR 1003).

Here, the record indicates the possible existence of necessary parties who have not been joined, namely, the other residents of the subdivision who may possess a tenancy in common in Clock Tower Lane. Accordingly, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, to hold a hearing to determine whether there are any necessary parties who should be joined in this action and, if so, to compel their joinder, subject to any affirmative defenses, and if joinder cannot be effectuated, to determine, pursuant to CPLR 1001 (b), whether the action should proceed in the absence of any necessary parties (see Censi v Cove Landings, Inc., 65 AD3d at 1068; De Ruscio v Jackson, 164 AD2d 684, 688 [1991]).

Argued by one judge. Decided by another.

Marti v Rana, 173 AD3d 576 [1st Dept. 2019]

The fact that oral argument was held before a different Justice than the Justice who ultimately decided the motion for summary judgment is not a proper basis for vacating the order granting summary judgment. Although Judiciary Law § 21 provides that a Supreme Court Justice “shall not decide or take part in the decision of a question, which was argued orally in the court, when he was not present and sitting therein as a judge,” reversal is not warranted on this ground, because the Justice who granted the motion decided a purely legal question (People v Hampton, 21 NY3d 277, 286 [2013]).

Plaintiffs argue that they were prejudiced because certain statements made by the court at oral argument led them to believe that a motion for leave to amend was not necessary. This argument is unavailing. To the extent counsel relied on his impressions of the court’s leanings, which were never incorporated into a binding order, he did so at his own peril.

Pro se affidavit needs to be notarized

Pollack v Ovadia, 173 AD3d 464 [1st Dept. 2019]

Although pro se defendant tenant could submit an affirmation rather than an affidavit for religious reasons, the document was still required to be notarized, and therefore the motion court was constrained to reject his unnotarized affirmation (see Slavenburg Corp. v Opus Apparel, 53 NY2d 799, 801 n [1981]; see also John Harris P.C. v Krauss, 87 AD3d 469 [1st Dept 2011]).

Accordingly, the motion was not supported by affidavit or affirmation of facts, and was properly denied (CPLR 3212 [b])

General Construction Law § 25-a (1)

Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Sewdial, 173 AD3d 685 [2d Dept. 2019]

Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the plaintiff timely commenced this action on September 23, 2013. An action to foreclose a mortgage on real property is subject to a six-year statute of limitations (see CPLR 213 [4]; NMNT Realty Corp. v Knoxville 2012 Trust, 151 AD3d 1068 [2017]). It is undisputed that the limitations period in this case began to run on September 21, 2007. Although six years from that date is September 21, 2013, we take judicial notice of the fact that September 21, 2013, was a Saturday (see generally Hamilton v Miller, 23 NY3d 592, 603 [2014]). Thus, pursuant to General Construction Law § 25-a (1), the plaintiff had until Monday, September 23, 2013, to commence this action (see Cardamone v Ricotta, 47 AD3d 659, 660 [2008]).

3103: Protective orders

Pascual v Rustic Woods Homeowners Assn., Inc., 173 AD3d 757 [2d Dept. 2019]

CPLR 3101 (a) requires, in pertinent part, “full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action.” However, the principle of “full disclosure” does not give a party the right to uncontrolled and unfettered disclosure (McAlwee v Westchester Health Assoc., PLLC, 163 AD3d 547, 548 [2018] [internal quotation marks omitted]; Ramirez v New York City Tr. Auth., 132 AD3d 653, 654 [2015]; Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531, 531 [2007]).

Discovery demands are palpably improper where they seek irrelevant information, are overbroad and burdensome, or fail to specify with reasonable particularity many of the documents requested (see Jordan v City of New York, 137 AD3d 1084, 1084-1085 [2016]; H.R. Prince, Inc. v Elite Envtl. Sys., Inc., 107 AD3d 850, 850 [2013]; Matter of New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v Librizzi, 106 AD3d 921, 921 [2013]; Montalvo v CVS Pharm., Inc., 102 AD3d 842, 843 [2013]; Ural v Encompass Ins. Co. of Am., 97 AD3d 562, 566 [2012]). Where the discovery demands are overbroad, the appropriate remedy is to vacate the entire demand rather than to prune it (see Stepping Stones Assoc., L.P. v Scialdone, 148 AD3d 855, 856 [2017]; Berkowitz v 29 Woodmere Blvd. Owners’, Inc., 135 AD3d 798, 799 [2016]; Scorzari v Pezza, 111 AD3d 916, 916 [2013]; Bell v Cobble Hill Health Ctr., Inc., 22 AD3d 620, 621 [2005]).

Here, the discovery demands at issue were palpably improper in that they sought irrelevant information, or were overbroad and burdensome (see JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v Levenson, 149 AD3d 1053, 1055 [2017]; Diaz v City of New York, 117 AD3d 777, 778 [2014]; Kamanou-Goune v Swiss Intl. Airlines, 100 AD3d 968, 969 [2012]).

MPEG LA, L.L.C. v Toshiba Am. Info. Sys., Inc., 173 AD3d 611 [1st Dept. 2019]

The motion court providently exercised its discretion by denying the motion to compel the production of documents that have no bearing on the issues in this breach of contract action (see Andon v 302-304 Mott St. Assoc., 94 NY2d 740, 745 [2000]). Moreover, the court providently determined that some of the document requests were vague and overbroad (see e.g. Lerner v 300 W. 17th St. Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 232 AD2d 249 [1st Dept 1996])

Kim & Bae, P.C. v Sunki Lee, 173 AD3d 990 [2d Dept. 2019]

Contrary to the plaintiffs’ contention, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying their motion to extend the time to complete discovery and to file the note of issue. Pursuant to CPLR 2004, “[e]xcept where otherwise expressly prescribed by law, the court may extend the time fixed by any statute, rule or order for doing any act, upon such terms as may be just and upon good cause shown, whether the application for extension is made before or after the expiration of the time fixed.” The grant of such an extension of time is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court (see Tewari v Tsoutsouras, 75 NY2d 1, 11 [1989]; Oliver v Town of Hempstead, 68 AD3d 1079, 1080 [2009]; Carota v Massapequa Union Free School Dist., 272 AD2d 428, 428 [2000]). In exercising its discretion, a court may consider such factors as the length of the delay, the reason or excuse for the delay, and any prejudice to the party opposing the motion (see Tewari v Tsoutsouras, 75 NY2d at 11-12; U.S. Bank N.A. v Adler, 148 AD3d 858 [2017]; Siracusa v Fitterman, 110 AD3d 1055, 1056 [2013]).

Here, the record supports the Supreme Court’s determination to deny the plaintiffs’ request for an extension of time. A motion for a protective order only stays disclosure of the particular matter in dispute, not all discovery (see CPLR 3103 [b]; Vandashield Ltd v Isaacson, 146 AD3d 552, 556 [2017]). Thus, by filing the motion for a protective order as to certain information, the plaintiffs were not relieved of the obligation to otherwise comply with the court’s August 21, 2015, order.

However, there was no record basis for the Supreme Court to direct that the plaintiffs are precluded from offering any evidence at trial. The order dated August 21, 2015, contained a directive conditionally precluding any party from testifying at trial if that party failed to appear for a deposition as set forth in that order. As a result of the plaintiffs’ respective failures to comply with the conditional order of preclusion, that conditional order became absolute upon the plaintiffs’ noncompliance with its terms, precluding the plaintiffs from testifying at trial (see Lee v Barnett, 134 AD3d 908, 909-910 [2015]; Julien-Thomas v Platt, 133 AD3d 824, 825 [2015]; Archer Capital Fund, L.P. v GEL, LLC, 95 AD3d 800, 801 [2012]). Although the plaintiffs are, by virtue of the August 21, 2015, order, precluded from testifying at trial, that order, by its terms, does not prevent the plaintiffs from providing other evidence. No other ground for the court’s determination to prevent the plaintiffs from providing any evidence at trial appears in the record (cf. CPLR 3126). Accordingly, we modify the order appealed from by deleting so much of the order entered April 21, 2016, as directed that the plaintiffs are precluded from offering any evidence at trial.

Pursuant to CPLR 3103 (a), a court may issue a protective order denying, limiting, conditioning, or regulating the use of any disclosure device, in order “to prevent unreasonable annoyance, expense, embarrassment, disadvantage, or other prejudice to any person or the courts.” The supervision of disclosure and the setting of reasonable terms and conditions rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and, absent an improvident exercise of discretion, its determination will not be disturbed (see Noy v Noy, 160 AD3d 887 [2018]; AAA Vascular Care, PLLC v Integrated Healthcare Mgt., LLC, 99 AD3d 642 [2012]; Spodek v Neiss, 70 AD3d 810 [2010]).

Here, the affidavit of the plaintiff Bong June Kim submitted in support of that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was for a protective order contained only conclusory assertions that confidentiality protection was necessary (see JPMorgan Chase Funding Inc. v Cohan, 134 AD3d 455 [2015]; Linderman v Pennsylvania Bldg. Co., 289 AD2d 77, 78 [2001]). Additionally, the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate unreasonable annoyance, embarrassment, disadvantage, or prejudice to warrant the issuance of a protective order (see CPLR 3103 [a]; Noy v Noy, 160 AD3d at 887-888). Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination in the order dated May 17, 2016, denying that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was for a protective order.

Res Judicata and Law of the Case

Shahid v Legal Aid Socy., 173 AD3d 1099 [2d Dept. 2019]

“Where a dismissal does not involve a determination on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply” (Djoganopoulos v Polkes, 67 AD3d 726, 727 [2009]). “As a general rule, a dismissal for failure to state a cause of action is not on the merits and, thus, will not be given res judicata effect” (Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d 1141, 1142 [2010]). Here, contrary to the defendant’s contention that this action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata, the August 2015 complaint was not dismissed on the merits (see Hock v Cohen, 125 AD3d 722, 723 [2015]; Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d at 1142).

Abdelfattah v Najar, 73 AD3d 657 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court should not have granted the motion of the defendants Adnan Najar, Mohammed Najar, and 887 Fulton Realty, LLC (hereinafter collectively the defendants), pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them on the ground that the action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The plaintiff had commenced a prior action against, among others, the defendants, and the complaint in that action was dismissed insofar as asserted against them upon the plaintiff’s failure to appear in opposition to their motion to dismiss. An order entered upon a party’s default in appearing to oppose a motion to dismiss is not a determination on the merits (see Aguilar v Jacoby, 34 AD3d 706 [2006]). Where a dismissal does not involve a determination on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply (see Cortazar v Tomasino, 150 AD3d 668, 670 [2017]; Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d 1141 [2010]). Accordingly, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply to bar the instant action (see Franchise Acquisitions Group Corp. v Jefferson Val. Mall Ltd. Partnership, 73 AD3d 1123 [2010]).

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Enbar, 173 AD3d 938 [2d Dept. 2019]

“A stipulation of discontinuance with prejudice without reservation of right or limitation of the claims disposed of is entitled to preclusive effect under the doctrine of res judicata” (Liberty Assoc. v Etkin, 69 AD3d 681, 682-683 [2010]; see Mooney v Manhattan Occupational, Physical & Speech Therapies, PLLC, 166 AD3d 957, 959 [2018]; Trapani v Squitieri, 107 AD3d 696, 696-697 [2013]; Matter of Chiantella v Vishnick, 84 AD3d 797, 798 [2011]).

Fidler v Gordon-Herricks Corp., 173 AD3d 840 [2d Dept. 2019]

“Pursuant to the doctrine of [the] law of the case, judicial determinations made during the course of . . . litigation before final judgment is entered may have preclusive effect provided that the parties had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the initial determination” (Sterngass v Town Bd. of Town of Clarkstown, 43 AD3d 1037, 1037 [2007]; accord Ruffino v Green, 72 AD3d 785, 786 [2010]). However, “[t]he doctrine . . . applies only to legal determinations that were necessarily resolved on the merits in [a] prior decision, and to the same questions presented in the same case” (Mosby v Parilla, 140 AD3d 1129, 1130-1131 [2016] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Ramanathan v Aharon, 109 AD3d 529, 530 [2013]; Erickson v Cross Ready Mix, Inc., 98 AD3d 717, 717 [2012]).

Here, the doctrine of the law of the case is inapplicable, because the order entered July 14, 2016, reflects that summary judgment was awarded in favor of the moving defendants upon grounds that were specific to those defendants.

Landis v 383 Realty Corp., 173 AD3d 636 [2d Dept. 2019]

This action was commenced in Supreme Court and transferred to Surrogate’s Court upon the death of defendant Bunita L. Weiner. Before the transfer, plaintiff had moved for summary judgment, and Supreme Court (Barry Ostrager, J.) had denied the motion in an order entered July 31, 2017. That ruling, which plaintiff did not appeal, remained law of the case and could not be contravened by a court of coordinate jurisdiction (Grossman v Meller, 213 AD2d 221, 224 [1st Dept 1995]). Thus, the Surrogate correctly denied the instant motion for summary judgment on the ground that, as she said, “the substance of [plaintiff’s] motion was already squarely decided against him” by Supreme Court.