3215(c) and reasonable excuse

Ibrahim v Nablus Sweets Corp., 2018 NY Slip Op 03515 [2d Dept. 2018]

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in rejecting the plaintiff's excuse of law office failure and properly, in effect, directed dismissal of the complaint insofar as asserted against the defendants as abandoned pursuant to CPLR 3215(c). The plaintiff's excuse of law office failure did not rise to the level of a reasonable excuse, as it was vague, conclusory, and unsubstantiated (see U.S. Bank, N.A. v Dorvelus, 140 AD3d at 852; Baruch v Nassau County, 134 AD3d 658, 659; Mattera v Capric, 54 AD3d 827, 828). The excuse was contained in a brief paragraph in the supporting affirmation of an associate who stated, in sum and substance, that the attorney who commenced the action left the employ of the law firm of record, and the plaintiff's file was only discovered in May 2016 when the firm was relocating its offices. There was no affirmation from a principal of the law firm and no indication in the associate's affirmation that he had any personal knowledge of the purported law office failure or that he was even employed by the firm at the time it allegedly occurred. The one-year period to move for the entry of a default judgment lapsed in August 2015, and there is no indication that the attorney had left prior thereto. Since the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for her delay in moving for a default judgment, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was pursuant to CPLR 2004 for an extension of time to move for a default judgment (see T. Mina Supply, Inc. v Clemente Bros. Contr. Corp., 139 AD3d 1038).

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