John Doe–CPLR 1024

CPLR 1024: Unknown parties

A party who is ignorant, in whole or in part, of the name or identity of a person who may properly be made a party, may proceed against such person as an unknown party by designating so much of his name and identity as is known. If the name or remainder of the name becomes known all subsequent proceedings shall be taken under the true name and all prior proceedings shall be deemed amended accordingly.

Markov v Stack's LLC (Delaware), 2018 NY Slip Op 03238 [1st Dept. 2018]

The motion court properly dismissed the complaint on the ground that it was served after the statutory limitations period had expired. Plaintiff's claims arose on January 14, 2008. The original complaint in this action, which was filed on January 6, 2014 (just days before the six-year statute of limitations expired), did not name Stack's LLC as a defendant, nor did it name defendant Stack's LLC (Delaware). The amended complaint, which for the first time named Stack's LLC (Delaware) as a defendant, was not filed until January 24, 2014 — more than a week after the statute had run. Plaintiff cannot properly rely on CPLR 1024 as a shield from the statute of limitations. Even assuming that the appellation "John Doe" referred to a corporation rather than a natural person, the complaint's description of the John Doe defendant was not described in such a way as to fairly apprise Stack's LLC (Delaware) that it was an intended defendant (see Bumpus v New York City Tr. Auth., 66 AD3d 26, 29—30 [2d Dept 2009]; see Tucker v Lorieo, 291 AD2d 261, 262 [1st Dept 2002]). Thus, the inadequate description rendered the action jurisdictionally defective (Thas v Dayrich Trading, Inc., 78 AD3d 1163, 1165 [2d Dept 2010]).

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