Preliminary injunction converted to summary judgment

Carroll v Dicker, 2018 NY Slip Op 04305 [2d Dept. 2018]

A motion for a preliminary injunction "opens the record and gives the court authority to pass upon the sufficiency of the underlying pleading" (Guggenheimer v Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268, 272). "However, the inquiry is limited to whether the plaintiff has a cause of action, and the court's power does not extend to an evaluation of conflicting evidence" (Livas v Mitzner, 303 AD2d 381, 382; see Alexandre v Duvivier, 96 AD3d 788, 789; Masjid Usman, Inc. v Beech 140, LLC, 68 AD3d 942, 942; Ugiri Progressive Community, Inc. v Ukwuozo, 57 AD3d 656, 656-657; Cellular Tel. Co. v Village of Tarrytown, 210 AD2d 196, 197). "Accordingly, the motion court may not, on its own initiative, convert a motion for a preliminary injunction into one for summary judgment without giving adequate notice to the parties and affording them an opportunity to lay bare their proof" (Grand Aerie of Fraternal Order of Eagles v Mostrando, 94 AD3d 1050, 1052; see Hoeffner v John F. Frank, Inc., 302 AD2d 428, 430).

Here, the plaintiffs correctly contend that the Supreme Court, in effect, improperly converted their motion for a preliminary injunction into one for summary judgment without notifying the parties of its intent to do so (see Grand Aerie of Fraternal Order of Eagles v Mostrando, 94 AD3d at 1052). Consequently, the court's determination "was procedurally premature, and it erred in adjudicating the rights of the parties with regard to issues beyond those related to the requested preliminary injunction" (Alexandre v Duvivier, 96 AD3d at 789-790).

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