A Brief CPLR R. 5015 Roundup and CPLR R. 2214(d) Appears For The First Time In this Blog.

CPLR R. 5015 Relief from judgment or order
(a) On motion
(1) excusable default…
newly-discovered evidence

(3) fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party
(4) lack of jurisdiction to render the judgment or order
reversal, modification or vacatur of a prior judgment or order upon which it is based

CPLR R. 2214 Motion papers; service; time
(d) Order to show cause

MBF Leasing, LLC v Sisco, 25 Misc 3d 128(A) (App. Term, 1st, 2009)

Civil Court correctly denied, without a traverse hearing, that branch of defendant's motion seeking vacatur of the default judgment and dismissal of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction under CPLR 5015(a)(4) because defendant failed to sufficiently refute the factual averments contained in plaintiff's process server's affidavit of service. Defendant is nonetheless entitled to vacatur of the default judgment and an opportunity to answer the action on the merits. In light of defendant's potentially meritorious defense to the action (see Pludeman v N. Leasing Sys., 10 NY3d 486 [2008]), the absence of any discernable prejudice to plaintiff (which did not oppose defendant's motion and has not filed a respondent's brief on this appeal), defendant's showing that the default was not willful, and our preference for resolving actions on the merits, we vacate the default judgment under our "inherent discretionary power" to relieve defendant of his default "for sufficient reason and in the interests of substantial justice" (Woodson v Mendon Leasing Corp., 100 NY2d 62, 68 [2003]; see Siegel, NY Practice § 426, 725 [4th ed]).

Although the court in its discretionary power may vacate a default even though the party did not satisfy any of the conditions in CPLR R. 5015, I don't understand why the court would say that the defendant was entitled to vacatur.  Going by Webster's definition of entitle, the word hardly seems to fit.  Vacatur was a gift in this case.  Also interesting is that the defendant's motion to vacate was unopposed.  Neither was the appeal.  Unless defendant attached plaintiff's affidavit or service, how was it before the lower court?  Judicial Notice?

Speaking of weird…

Merriwether v Osborne, 2009 NY Slip Op 07602 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

By order dated May 22, 2007, the Supreme Court granted, apparently without opposition, the defendants' separate motions for summary judgment dismissing, inter alia, the complaint insofar as asserted against them, and a judgment dismissing the complaint was entered subsequently. Although the plaintiff was duly served with both the order and the judgment with notice of entry, he neither appealed nor moved to vacate. Nearly two years later, the Supreme Court, sua sponte, without explanation, vacated the order dated May 22, 2007, and, in effect, the judgment, and denied the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

On appeal, the defendants contend that the Supreme Court exceeded its authority in, sua [*2]sponte, vacating the order and, in effect, the judgment. We agree.

"A trial court has no revisory or appellate jurisdiction, sua sponte, to vacate its own order or judgment" (Adams v Fellingham, 52 AD3d 443, 444-445; see Armstrong Trading, Ltd. v MBM Enters., 29 AD3d 835, 836; Matter of Owens v Stuart, 292 AD2d 677, 678-679; cf. Liss V Trans Auto Sys., 68 NY2d 15, 20). Here, the court exceeded its powers by its unexplained sua sponte attempt to reconsider the summary judgment motions anew almost two years after the case was dismissed by judgment (see Matter of Owens v Stuart, 292 AD2d at 679).


Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Leiba, 2009 NY Slip Op 07833 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

The Supreme Court properly denied the motion of the defendant Lisa Morris to vacate a judgment of foreclosure and sale dated October 27, 2005, as she failed to serve the order to show cause by which the motion was initiated in the manner specified, and within the time provided (see CPLR 2214[d]; Alden Personnel, Inc. v David, 38 AD3d 697, 698).

A bad employee can be a reasonable excuse.  See below.

Rodriguez v Rodriguez, 2009 NY Slip Op 08150 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

Defendant's attorney's representation that a former employee had been misdirecting or misplacing mail provides a reasonable excuse for his failure to present such evidence of law office failure on defendant's original motion to vacate the default judgment as well as his failure to appear in court on various dates (see Solowij v Otis Elev. Co., 260 AD2d 226 [1999]). Defendant's affidavit shows a meritorious defense.

The bold is mine.

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