Inherent authority to vacate

Braunstein v Hodges, 2020 NY Slip Op 00842 [2d Dept 2020]

Although the court retains inherent discretionary power to relieve a party from a judgment or order for sufficient reason and in the interest of substantial justice, “[a] court’s inherent power to exercise control over its judgment is not plenary, and should be resorted to only to relieve a party from judgments taken through [fraud,] mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect” (Matter of McKenna v County of Nassau, Off. of County Attorney, 61 NY2d 739, 742 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Citimortgage, Inc. v Maldonado, 171 AD3d 1007, 1008). Further, “[t]his discretion is reserved for unique or unusual’ circumstances that warrant such action” (Cox v Marshall, 161 AD3d 1140, 1142, quoting Katz v Marra, 74 AD3d 888, 891).

Under the circumstances of this case, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination denying the plaintiffs’ motion (see Torres v Rely On Us, Inc., 165 AD3d 731, 734; Kleynerman v MJGC Home Care, 153 AD3d 1246, 1247). The plaintiffs failed to show the existence of any actual conflict of interest, impropriety, or bias with respect to the March 2016 order (see Matter of Serkez v Serkez, 34 AD3d 592, 592; see also People v Smith, 63 NY2d 41, 68).

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