CPLR R. 3404 and Judicial Notice

CPLR R. 3404 Dismissal of abandoned cases

Matter of Cento Props. Co. v Assessor, 2010 NY Slip Op 02556 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

In the interim, in or around September 1999, Cento filed a note of issue with respect to the original proceeding. Subsequently, on September 25, 2001, the original proceeding appeared on the trial calendar. On that date, pursuant to certain procedures that former Justice Leo F. McGinity had implemented years earlier in an attempt to reduce the backlog of tax certiorari proceedings on the trial calendar, the original proceeding was removed from the trial calendar so the County could obtain a preliminary appraisal, after which the parties could try to settle the matter. Thereafter, the subsequent related proceedings were marked "inactive pre-note." [*2]

Ultimately, on or about November 21, 2007, with the parties unable to reach a settlement, Cento moved to restore the original proceeding to the trial calendar and, in effect, to restore the subsequent related proceedings to active status. The County opposed restoration of both the original proceeding and the subsequent related proceedings. The Supreme Court denied the motion, after which Cento moved to reargue. Upon granting leave to reargue, the Supreme Court granted Cento's motion to restore, holding that (1) restoration of the original proceeding to the trial calendar is appropriate since Cento satisfied the four-prong test for restoring, to the trial calendar, a matter marked "off" the trial calendar pursuant to CPLR 3404 for more than one year, and (2) restoration of the subsequent related proceedings to active status is automatic because the County had failed to serve a 90-day notice pursuant to CPLR 3216. We affirm, but for different reasons.

A review of the information on the New York State Unified Court System E-Courts public website, of which we take judicial notice (see Kingsbrook Jewish Med. Ctr. v Allstate Ins. Co., 61 AD3d 13, 20), reveals that, when the original proceeding appeared on the trial calendar in 2001, the court marked the case "settled before trial." Accordingly, the original proceeding was not marked "off" or stricken from the calendar pursuant to CPLR 3404 (see Long-Waithe v Kings Apparel Inc., 10 AD3d 413, 414; Baez v Kayantas, 298 AD2d 416; Basetti v Nour, 287 AD2d 126). For the reasons set forth in our determination on a companion appeal (see Matter of Transtechnology Corp. v AssessorAD3d [decided herewith]), the Supreme Court correctly recognized that it misapprehended the law relevant to the instant dispute and, thus, correctly granted that branch of the petitioner's motion which was for leave to reargue and thereupon granted those branches of Cento's motion which were to restore the original proceeding to the trial calendar and, in effect, to restore the subsequent related proceedings to active status.

And one older 3404 decision that I never got around to posting.

Kahgan v Alwi, 67 AD3d 742 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

The plaintiff filed her note of issue on January 6, 2005. On November 9, 2005 the case was marked off the trial calendar, at the plaintiff's request, after the defendants moved for summary judgment. Prior to the expiration of one year after the action was marked off the calendar, the plaintiff moved, in or about July 2006, to restore the action to the trial calendar. However, although the notice of motion indicated a return date, this motion never appeared on any court calendar. In January 2008 the plaintiff again moved for an order "restoring this matter to active status for determination on the merits." This motion was denied by the Supreme Court, and we reverse.

CPLR 3404 creates a rebuttable presumption that an action marked off the trial calendar and not restored within one year has been abandoned (see Sanchez v Denkberg, 284 AD2d 446 [2001]). The court retains discretion to grant a motion to restore a case to the trial calendar after the one-year period has expired (see Ford v Empire Med. Group, 123 AD2d 820 [1986]). Here, it is undisputed that the plaintiff initially moved to restore the matter to the trial calendar within one year after it was marked off and that, for reasons which are not discernible on the record, the court never addressed that motion. Moreover, the record reveals that there was continued activity on the case just before the second motion to restore was made. Although the plaintiff could have more promptly moved a second time to restore the case to the calendar, under all of the circumstances, we conclude that there was a reasonable excuse for the delay in prosecution and a lack of intent to abandon the action (see Drucker v Progressive Enters., 172 AD2d 481 [1991]). Furthermore, the plaintiff has demonstrated a meritorious cause of action and a lack of prejudice to the defendant. Accordingly, the Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in refusing to restore the matter to the trial calendar (see Sheridan v Mid-Island Hosp., Inc., 9 AD3d 490 [2004]; Acciarito v Homedco, Inc., 237 AD2d 236 [1997]).

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