CPLR 2101 and translations. Also No SJ with out issue being joined (this time)

CPLR R. 2101 Form of papers

CPLR R. 3212

Reyes v Arco Wentworth Mgt. Corp., 2011 NY Slip Op 01988 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

This Court has held that the absence of a translator's affidavit, required of foreign language witnesses, renders the witness's English affidavit facially defective and inadmissible (see Martinez v 123-16 Liberty Ave. Realty Corp., 47 AD3d 901, 902). The requirement of CPLR 2101(b) that affidavits of non-English speaking witnesses be accompanied by a translator's affidavit setting forth the translator's qualifications and the accuracy of the English version submitted to the Court makes sense. Summary judgment is a drastic remedy made in lieu of a trial which resolves the case as a matter of law (see Andre v Pomeroy, 35 NY2d 361, 364). Parties opposing a motion for summary judgment are required to proffer evidence that is in admissible form, with rare exceptions not applicable here. A witness at trial would not be permitted to testify in a foreign language, or to proffer documents in a foreign language, without the benefit of a sworn English language translation (see Quispe v Leml & Wolff, Inc., 266 AD2d 95, 96; cf. People v Watkins, 12 AD3d 165, 166), and there is no valid reason why a more relaxed evidentiary standard should govern summary judgment applications. Accordingly, the plaintiff's English-language affidavit, without a corresponding affidavit from a qualified translator, cannot be considered in opposition to Ramapo's motion.

Ramapo's argument about the inadmissibility of the plaintiff's English-language affidavit in opposition, while correct, does not change the outcome of this appeal. Ramapo proffered the plaintiff's translated deposition transcript in reply papers, ostensibly to show the plaintiff's need at that time of a translator. While documents which are submitted for the first time in reply cannot be used by a movant to meet the prima facie burden of proof for summary judgment (see Tingling v C.I.N.H.R., Inc., 74 AD3d 954, 956; Yeum v Clove Lakes Health Care & Rehabilitation Ctr., Inc., 71 AD3d 739; Edwards v Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., Inc., 71 AD3d 721; Rengifo v City of New York, 7 AD3d 773), here, the deposition transcript was not proffered by Ramapo to meet its prima facie burden. Instead, the transcript of the plaintiff's translated deposition, which sufficiently mirrors his non-compliant affidavit (see CPLR 2101[b]), was proffered to address perceived deficiencies in the plaintiff's opposition to summary judgment. The transcript independently raised questions of fact so as to defeat Ramapo's own motion. Ramapo, as the party proffering the deposition transcript in its reply, cannot object to this Court's consideration of the entirety of the exhibit, including those portions that raise triable issues of fact sufficient to defeat summary judgment.

Contrary to Ramapo's contention set forth in footnote eight of its brief, that the Supreme Court failed to disregard the plaintiff's inadmissible English language affidavit, a close reading of the order appealed from does not demonstrate that the Supreme Court relied on the plaintiff's inadmissible affidavit at all. The order describes facts and allegations to which the "plaintiff testified." Such "testimony," as described, may carefully and appropriately refer merely [*5]to the plaintiff's deposition which, as noted, is admissible.
IV.Appeal by Arco

Arco separately moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The Supreme Court denied the motion on the ground that since issue had not yet been joined between Arco and the plaintiff, the motion was premature (see CPLR 3212[a]). Furthermore, the Supreme Court declined to treat what was in actuality a pre-answer motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment. We affirm the Supreme Court's determination (see CPLR 3212[a]; City of Rochester v Chiarella, 65 NY2d 92, 101; Shaibani v Soraya, 71 AD3d 1121).

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