Shohat v Suky, 2018 NY Slip Op 08548 [1st Dept. 2018]

Defendants engaged in willful and contumacious conduct warranting the penalty of striking their answer (seeCPLR 3126; McHugh v City of New York, 150 AD3d 561 [1st Dept 2017]). They failed to comply with several court orders directing compliance with outstanding discovery requests by dates certain. The discovery responses they served only after plaintiff moved to strike consisted almost entirely of objections.

Spivey v City of New York, 2018 NY Slip Op 08557 [1st Dept. 2018]

The default on which the dismissal was based — plaintiff’s failure to respond to a motion to dismiss under CPLR 3126, allegedly due to his counsel’s mis-calendaring of the return date — was not an isolated mistake but part of a pervasive pattern of neglect in prosecuting this action evident from the record, including his persistent failure to satisfy discovery obligations for about a year and a half. As part of a pattern of “intentional[] and repeated[] fail[ure] to attend to [his obligations]” (Imovegreen, LLC v Frantic, LLC, 139 AD3d 539, 540 [1st Dept 2016]), the law-office failure leading to the default was not excusable.

Suarez v Dameco Indus., Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 08576 [1st Dept. 2018]

The motion court providently exercised its discretion in granting plaintiff’s motion to strike Dameco’s answer for willful failure to comply with discovery orders (see CPLR 3126). Dameco’s counsel offered a barebones affirmation disclosing that Dameco was now defunct and claiming that counsel’s attempts to contact unnamed former officers of Dameco through an investigative service had been unsuccessful, which was insufficient to establish good-faith efforts to comply (see Cavota v Perini Corp., 31 AD3d 362, 364 [2d Dept 2006]; Hutson v Allante Carting Corp., 228 AD2d 303 [1st Dept 1996]; see also Reidel v Ryder TRS, Inc., 13 AD3d 170, 171 [1st Dept 2004]; compare Lee v 13th St. Entertainment LLC, 161 AD3d 631 [1st Dept 2018]). Although Dameco was apparently still in business when the action was commenced, defense counsel provided no explanation for Dameco’s failure to preserve any records relating to its repair, service, and maintenance of the elevator that allegedly caused plaintiff’s injuries, including inspection records that Dameco was statutorily required to prepare. In light of plaintiff’s showing of willful failure to comply, and since the complete absence of records impedes plaintiff’s ability to prove his case, the sanction of striking Dameco’s answer was appropriate under the circumstances.

Aiken v Liotta, 2018 NY Slip Op 08621 [2d Dept. 2018]

We agree with the Supreme Court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to enforce certain orders of preclusion against the plaintiff Rosemary Wiltshire pursuant to CPLR 3126 and, thereupon, for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted by that plaintiff. Despite Wiltshire’s delays, she substantially complied with the relevant discovery demands and orders, and the defendant failed to demonstrate that the delays were the product of willful and [*2]contumacious conduct (see Brannigan v Christie Overhead Door, 144 AD3d 959, 960; McDermott v Bahnatka, 83 AD3d 1014, 1015; LOP Dev., LLC v ZHL Group, Inc., 78 AD3d 1020, 1020; Jenkins v Proto Prop. Servs., LLC, 54 AD3d 726Zouev v City of New York, 32 AD3d 850, 851; Passarelli v National Bank of Westchester, 81 AD2d 635, 636).

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