Today in the First Department (22 NYCRR 202.2, CPLR R. 3211, CPLR R. 3212, CPLR § 306-b, CPLR § 3121, SOL)

Several decisions popped out of the Appellate Division, First Department,  today.  In a break from my normal posting style, where I try to split posts between sections and rules, I'm going to post the few decisions that I found interesting.


Ocasio-Gary v Lawrence Hosp.,
2010 NY Slip Op 00003 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

Even had St. Barnabas met its initial burden, plaintiff's expert's submission raises triable issues of fact regarding the hospital's negligence (see DaRonco v White Plains Hosp. Ctr., 215 AD2d 339 [1995]). The trial court should not have rejected the expert's opinion on the ground that the expert failed to expressly state that he or she possessed the requisite background and knowledge in emergency medicine to render an opinion. The expert, who is board certified in internal medicine, is qualified to render an opinion as to diagnosis and treatment with respect to the symptoms presented by the decedent. In contrast, the expert's affirmation in Browder v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. (37 AD3d 375 [2007]), cited by the trial court, failed to indicate either the expert's specialty or that he or she possessed the requisite knowledge to furnish a reliable opinion. Venue should be retained in Bronx County. The only ground for the motion to change venue was the dismissal of the complaint against St. Barnabas, and the complaint has been reinstated.

The motion to vacate plaintiff's note of issue, served more than 20 days after service of that note, was properly denied as untimely (see 22 NYCRR 202.21[e]), "no showing of special circumstances or adequate reason for the delay having been offered" (Arnold v New York City Hous. Auth., 282 AD2d 378 [2001]). Nor did the court err in finding that defendant Orin failed to demonstrate good cause for an extension of time in which to file his motion for summary judgment (CPLR 3212[a]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 648, 652 [2004]).

Johnson v Concourse Vil., Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 00010 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

Although plaintiff's counsel served her pleadings just one day after the applicable 120-day service period expired (see CPLR 306-b), and counsel offered proof that he attempted to arrange for service with eight days remaining out of the 120-day period, he nonetheless failed to show diligence in his efforts to effect service, particularly as the three-year statute of limitations (CPLR 214[5]) had already expired, and he did not follow up with the process server regarding completion of service until after the 120-day service period had expired. There was no evidence to indicate that the corporate defendants could not be located, or that they could not be readily served through the Secretary of State. Furthermore, counsel waited until after defendants moved to dismiss before he cross-moved for an extension of the time to serve some several months later. Such evidence of lack of diligence undermines plaintiff's "good cause" argument in support of her extension request (see generally Leader v Maroney, Ponzini & Spencer, 97 NY2d 95 [2001]).

Nor is a grant of an extension to serve the pleadings warranted in the interest of justice. The circumstances presented, including that the statute of limitations expired, plaintiff's lack of diligence in prosecuting this action, the lack of probative evidence offered as to the claim's merit, the vague allegations of injury, the lack of notice given of the claim for more than three years and three months, the prejudice to defendants and the several month delay in moving for an extension of the time to serve, demonstrate that the dismissal of this action was appropriate (see Slate v Schiavone Constr. Co., 4 NY3d 816 [2005]; Posada v Pelaez, 37 AD3d 168 [2007]; compare de Vries v Metropolitan Tr. Auth., 11 AD3d 312 [2004]).

One day late.

Suss v New York Media, Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 00011 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

We reject plaintiff's argument that such evidence fails to show, prima facie, that the issue first was published on April 29. The affidavits submitted by defendants were made with personal knowledge of the issue's distribution date; the distributor's affidavit was the proper vehicle for the submission of photographs taken by him and his staff (see H.P.S. Capitol v Mobil Oil Corp., 186 AD2d 98, 98 [1992]); and the photographs, as enhanced and highlighted in defendants' reply, clearly depict what they are claimed to depict. In opposition, plaintiff failed to submit any evidence of a later publication.

We also reject plaintiff's argument that unless the court gives CPLR 3211(c) notice of its intention to do so, it may not consider nondocumentary evidentiary materials for fact-finding purposes on a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5) (see Alverio v New York Eye & [*2]Ear Infirmary, 123 AD2d 568 [1986]; Lim v Choices, Inc., 60 AD3d 739 [2009]).

Welter v Feigenbaum, 2010 NY Slip Op 00012 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

A plaintiff, in an action for negligent transmittal of genital herpes simplex II, may demand that the defendant submit to a blood test to determine if the latter indeed has the virus (see CPLR 3121). Since the test was ordered in conjunction with the litigation, it is not subject to the physician-patient privilege (see Connors, McKinney's CPLR Practice Commentary C3121:2). Even were the privilege to apply, defendant waived it by asserting the affirmative defense that he was asymptomatic (see e.g. Dillenbeck v Hess, 73 NY2d 278, 287-288 [1989]). Defendant's effort to limit the scope of discovery has simply focused the issue on whether or not he has the virus. This issue is relevant to — and potentially dispositive of — the action. If the test is negative, the case will be subject to dismissal. If, on the other hand, it is positive, defendant will have an opportunity to prove his affirmative defenses that he did not have the virus in 2002, or was unaware that he had it or was asymptomatic at the time of alleged transmittal to plaintiff.

All concur except Andrias and McGuire, JJ., who concur in a separate memorandum by McGuire, J. as follows:

McGUIRE, J. (concurring)

We write separately to emphasize that we express no view on the issue of whether, if the test is positive, it is adm
issible at trial (see People v Scarola, 71 NY2d 769, 777 [1988] ["(e)ven where technically relevant evidence is admissible, it may still be excluded by the trial court in the [*2]exercise of its discretion if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that it will unfairly prejudice the other side or mislead the jury"]).

The herpes case.

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