Relation back: CPLR 203(f)

Ramirez v Elias-Tejada, 2019 NY Slip Op 00021 [1st Dept. 2019]

CPLR 203(f) is a codification of the relation back doctrine (O’Halloran v Metropolitan Transp. Authority, 154 AD3d 83, 86 [1st Dept 2017]). It provides that “[a] claim asserted in an amended pleading is deemed to have been interposed at the time the claims in the original pleading were interposed, unless the original pleading does not give notice of the transactions [or] occurrences . . . to be proved pursuant to the amended pleading” (CPLR 203[f]; see also Giambrone v Kings Harbor Multicare Ctr., 104 AD3d 546, 548 [1st Dept 2013]). Application of the relation back doctrine allows a plaintiff to “correct a pleading error—by adding either a new claim or a new party—after the statutory limitations period has expired” (Buran, 87 NY2d at [*3]177). Where, as here, a plaintiff seeks to add new defendants, not just assert more claims against defendants already in the action, the following three conditions must be met before claims against one defendant may relate back to claims against another:

“(1) both claims arose out of same conduct, transaction or occurrence; (2) the new party is united in interest’ with the original defendant, and by reason of that relationship can be charged with such notice of the institution of the action that he will not be prejudiced in maintaining his defense on the merits and (3) the new party knew or should have known that, but for a[] … mistake by plaintiff as to the identity of the proper parties, the action would have been brought against him as well” (id. at 178 [internal quotation marks omitted]).

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Ramirez and Peralta failed to submit proof in admissible form entitling them to summary judgment on the threshold issue of serious injury, because the medical records they submitted were not sworn or certified (CPLR 4518[c]). In addition, their cross motion was untimely, and serious injury was not the subject of a timely motion (see Filannino v Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Auth., 34 AD3d 280, 281-282 [1st Dept 2006], appeal dismissed 9 NY3d 862 [2007]). As to liability, Ramirez and Peralta’s argument is merely that they were not culpable. Although lack of culpable conduct also was not the subject of a timely motion, and although Ramirez and Peralta are not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of defendants’ negligence, we grant these plaintiffs summary judgment on the limited issue of their lack of culpable conduct, because defendants do not dispute that as innocent passengers they were not at fault in the happening of the accident (see Oluwatayo v Dulinayan, 142 AD3d 113, 115 [1st Dept 2016]).

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