Default in opposing a motion

Singh v Sukhu, 2020 NY Slip Op 01105 [2d Dept. 2020]

A party seeking to vacate an order entered upon his or her default in opposing a motion must demonstrate both a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious opposition to the motion (see CPLR 5015[a][1]; Credit Bur. of N.Y., Inc. v Rapid Realty 95, Inc., 137 AD3d 841, 841; J & J Alarcon Realty Corp. v Plantains Rest., Inc., 123 AD3d 886, 887; Bhuiyan v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 120 AD3d 1284, 1284; Schenk v Staten Is. Univ. Hosp., 108 AD3d 661, 662). “The determination of what constitutes a reasonable excuse lies within the trial court’s discretion” (Stewart v Berger, 137 AD3d 1103, 1105 [internal quotation marks omitted]). Law office failure may qualify as a reasonable excuse for a party’s default if the claim of such failure is supported by a detailed and credible explanation of the default (see Strunk v Revenge Cab Corp., 98 AD3d 1029, 1030.

Here, the plaintiff demonstrated a reasonable excuse for her default. The affirmation of her attorney explained that the plaintiff’s default was reasonable and inadvertent due to the fact that the attorney’s “calender service” never communicated the briefing schedule to counsel’s office and that counsel first learned of the August 19, 2016, date when it attempted to file the opposition papers only six days later (see Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Faragalla, 174 AD3d 677). The plaintiff also demonstrated a potentially meritorious defense to the DNJC defendants’ motion based upon the argument that the DNJC defendants were vicariously liable for Lopez’s negligence (see Galasso, Langione & Botter, LLP v Galasso, 176 AD3d 1176). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in granting that branch of the plaintiff’s motion which was to vacate the prior order entered upon her default (see Advanced Remodeling of Long Is., Inc. v Monahan, 175 AD3d 1361Credit Bur. of N.Y., Inc. v Rapid Realty 95, Inc., 137 AD3d at 841; Rocco v Family Foot Ctr., 94 AD3d 1077, 1079; Simpson v Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc., 48 AD3d 389, 392).


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