Interesting to Me (CPLR 3215; 4518; 3121; 602; 3018)

Of all the decisions that came out this past week, these are the ones that I read and though, "hey, that's interesting."

New S. Ins. Co. v Dobbins, 2010 NY Slip Op 01773 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

The Supreme Court properly, upon renewal and reargument, adhered to so much of its original determination as denied the plaintiff leave to enter judgment against the defendants James Dobbins, Jr., and Felita Dobbins, upon their default in answering the complaint. In support of its motion, the plaintiff offered the complaint, which was verified by plaintiff's counsel, and an affidavit of the plaintiff's investigator, neither of whom possessed personal knowledge of the facts constituting the claim (see CPLR 3215; Woodson v Mendon Leasing Corp., 100 NY2d 62, 70-71; Hosten v Oladapo, 44 AD3d 1006; Finnegan v Sheahan, 269 AD2d 491). The statements from the driver of the other vehicle that the plaintiff's investigator relied upon in his affidavit constituted inadmissible hearsay (see CPLR 4518[a]; Hochhauser v Electric Ins. Co., 46 AD3d 174, 179-183; Metropolitan Cas. Ins. Co. v Shaid, 23 Misc 3d 1140[A]). Accordingly, entry of a default judgment against these defendants was properly denied on the papers before the Supreme Court.

Ok, this one is a little older.  I accidentally put it with the others.  But since it's already here, I might as well keep it.

Tucker v Bay Shore Stor. Warehouse, Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 00134 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

Contrary to the defendants' contentions, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying that branch of their motion which was to compel the plaintiff to undergo a second independent medical examination. "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" (Mattocks v White Motor Corp., 258 AD2d 628, 629 [internal quotation marks and citations omitted]; see Kaplan v Herbstein, 175 AD2d 200). While CPLR 3121 does not limit the number of examinations to which a party may be subjected, a party seeking a further examination must demonstrate the necessity for it (see Young v Kalow, 214 AD2d 559; see also Huggins v New York City Tr. Auth., 225 AD2d 732). Here, the defendants failed to show that a further physical examination of the plaintiff was required. While we strongly disapprove of the plaintiff's counsel instructing the plaintiff to refuse to respond to questions relating to her relevant past medical history, there was no indication by the defendants' examining physician that his prior examination was hindered, or that he required additional information.

Gladstein v Martorella, 2010 NY Slip Op 01732 (App. Div., 1st, 2010)

When parties set down their agreement in a clear, complete document, their writing should, as a rule, be enforced according to its terms. Evidence outside the four corners of the document as to what was really intended but unstated or misstated is generally inadmissible to add to or vary the writing. Extrinsic and parol evidence are not admissible to create an ambiguity in a written agreement which is complete, clear and unambiguous on its face (see W.W.W. Assoc. v Giancontieri, 77 NY2d 157, 162 [1990]).

The agreement herein is unambiguous on its face. Both sale and lease contracts may be utilized in meeting the 75% requirement. "The best evidence of what parties to a written agreement intend is what they say in their writing" (Greenfield v Philles Records, 98 NY2d 562, 569 [2002] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]). If the parties intended to exclude lease contracts from consideration, they made a mistake in the agreement. "An omission or mistake in a contract does not constitute an ambiguity" (Reiss v Financial Performance Corp., 97 NY2d 195, 199 [2001] [internal quotation marks and citation omitted]).

Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co. v North State Autobahn, Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 01779 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

The Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying that branch of the defendants' motion which was, in the alternative, to direct that this action be tried jointly with an action entitled North State Autobahn v Progressive Insurance Group, pending in the Supreme Court, Westchester County, under Index No. 02761/07. Inasmuch as the two actions did not involve common questions of law or fact (see CPLR 602[a]), a joint trial was not warranted (see Beerman v Morhaim, 17 AD3d 302, 303).

At the close of the plaintiff's case, which arises out of the defendants' repair of a motor vehicle owned by the plaintiff's insured, the defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case (see CPLR 4401). The Supreme Court granted the motion on a ground not argued by the defendants, namely, that the plaintiff's payment of the full amount of the final bill for the repair of the vehicle without asserting that the payment was, in some [*2]manner, "under protest," barred the plaintiff's claims under the doctrine of accord and satisfaction (see Merrill Lynch Realty/Carll Burr, Inc. v Skinner, 63 NY2d 590, 596; Uniform Commercial Code § 1-207). In granting the motion on that ground, the Supreme Court erred in two respects. First, accord and satisfaction is an affirmative defense which must be pleaded and proved (see CPLR 3018[b]; Conboy, McKay, Bachman & Kendall v Armstrong, 110 AD2d 1042; see also Arias-Paulino v Academy Bus Tours, Inc., 48 AD3d 350; Dec v Auburn Enlarged School Dist., 249 AD2d 907, 908). The defendants did not plead accord and satisfaction as an affirmative defense, and it was improper for the Supreme Court to raise it sua sponte (see Trustco Bank N.Y. v Cohn, 215 AD2d 840, 841; cf. Rienzi v Rienzi, 23 AD3d 450). Second, the doctrine of accord and satisfaction is not applicable because it contemplates full knowledge of the facts on the part of both parties who, in effect, enter into a new contract to expeditiously settle a contract dispute (see Horn Waterproofing Corp v Bushwick Iron & Steel Co., 66 NY2d 321, 325). In this action, inter alia, to recover damages for fraud, the gravamen of the plaintiff's claim is that it was without such knowledge because of the defendants' alleged misrepresentation of material facts. Thus, a new trial is warranted.

We note that, upon retrial, the plaintiff should not be limited to damages in the sum of $2,808.65, the amount of the allegedly fraudulent charges contained in the final bill of the defendant North State Autobahn, Inc., d/b/a North State Custom Auto, but rather to the amount sought in the complaint.

Another older one.

Simmons v New York City Health & Hosps.
Corp.
,
2010 NY Slip Op 01692 (App. Div., 1st, 2010)

The motion court, by declining to grant defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint and ordering discovery, limited to plaintiff's assertion of the insanity toll, necessarily rejected defendant's res judicata defense. Thus, the order at issue, at least to the extent that it denied defendant's motion to dismiss on grounds of res judicata is appealable insofar as it affects a substantial right (see Fellner v Morimoto, 52 AD3d 352, 353 [2008]; CPLR 5701[a][2][v]).

However, contrary to the lower court's implicit conclusion the instant action is in fact barred by res judicata. Plaintiff's prior action was against a doctor employed by defendant, arose from the same course of treatment alleged in the instant action, and was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. While defendant was not a party to the prior action, as defendant doctor's employer, required to indemnify defendant doctor in the prior action, it was in privy with defendant doctor (Beuchel v Bain, 97 NY2d 295, 304-305 [2001], cert denied 535 US 1096 [2002]; Prospect Owners Corp. v Tudor Realty Servs., 260 AD3d 299 [1999]), the real party in interest in that action (Ebert v New York City Health and Hosp. Corp., 82 NY2d 863, 866-867 [1993]), and the abbreviated statute of limitations applicable to defendant was thus applied to him (see International Shared Servs. v County of Nassau, 222 AD2d 407, 408 [1995]; Urraro v Green, 106 AD2d 567 [1984]). Plaintiff cannot avoid res judicata by varying facts, changing his causes of action and omitting references to the previously named doctor (see Reilly v Reed, 45 NY2d 24, 28-30 [1978]; Marinelli v Assocs. v Helmsley Noyes Co., 265 AD2d 1 [2000]).

The bold, that I will eventually use, will be mine.

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