More discovery fun time

Kiernan v Booth Mem. Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06596 [2d Dept. 2019]

“A party is not entitled to unlimited, uncontrolled, unfettered disclosure” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 83 AD3d 998, 998; see McAlwee v Westchester Health Assoc., PLLC, 163 AD3d 547, 548). ” The supervision of disclosure and the setting of reasonable terms and conditions therefor rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and, absent an improvident exercise of that discretion, its determination will not be disturbed'” (Montalvo v CVS Pharm., Inc., 102 AD3d 842, 843, quoting Mattocks v White Motor Corp., 258 AD2d 628, 629 [citation omitted]). Here, the plaintiffs’ request for additional information and color photographs of certain Forest View personnel who worked on the floor where the decedent resided on February 5 and 6, 2008, was palpably improper because it was overbroad and unduly burdensome (see JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v Levenson, 149 AD3d 1053, 1055; Stepping Stones Assoc., L.P. v Scialdone, 148 AD3d 855, 856; Pesce v Fernandez, 144 AD3d 653, 655; Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was to compel the production of such material.

Kiernan v Booth Mem. Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06597 [2d Dept. 2019]

“The determination whether to strike a pleading or to preclude evidence for failure to comply with court-ordered disclosure lies within the sound discretion of the court” (Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d 611, 612; see Neenan v Quinton, 110 AD3d 967, 968). However, the drastic remedy of striking a pleading or even precluding evidence pursuant to CPLR 3126 should not be imposed absent a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery demands or orders was willful and contumacious (see MacKenzie v City of New York, 125 AD3d 821, 822; Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d at 612; Gutman v Cabrera, 121 AD3d 1042, 1043). Here, Forest View timely complied with the court-ordered discovery and adequately explained that it had previously disclosed the identity of the health aides and their employment statuses on September 14, 2017. Thus, there was no clear showing that Forest View engaged in any willful and contumacious noncompliance with regard to disclosure in this matter (see e.g. MacKenzie v City of New York, 125 AD3d at 822; Palmieri v Piano Exch., Inc., 124 AD3d at 612).

On Summary Judgment [CPLR 3212]

Nill v Schneider, 173 AD3d 753 [2d Dept. 2019]

“It is a defendant’s burden, when it is the party moving for summary judgment, to demonstrate affirmatively the merits of a defense, which cannot be sustained by pointing out gaps in the plaintiff’s proof” (Quantum Corporate Funding, Ltd. v Ellis, 126 AD3d 866, 871 [2015]).

Rivera v City of New York, 173 AD3d 790 [2d Dept. 2019]

We also agree with the Supreme Court’s determination denying that branch of Carter’s motion which was for summary judgment dismissing all cross claims insofar as asserted against it. The papers submitted in support of the motion failed to include copies of the relevant pleadings as required by CPLR 3212 (b), thereby precluding review of the purported cross claims (see Mieles v Tarar, 100 AD3d 719, 720 [2012]; Matsyuk v Konkalipos, 35 AD3d 675, 676 [2006]; Wider v Heller, 24 AD3d 433, 434 [2005]).

Bargil Assoc., LLC v Crites, 173 AD3d 958 [2d Dept. 2019]

Motions for summary judgment “shall be made no later than one hundred twenty days after the filing of the note of issue” (CPLR 3212 [a]) unless the Supreme Court has set a different deadline. A party may not file a late summary judgment motion without leave of the court “on good cause shown” (CPLR 3212 [a]), which requires the movant to articulate a “satisfactory explanation for the untimeliness” of the motion (Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 648, 652 [2004]; see Milano v George, 17 AD3d 644, 645 [2005]). “In the absence of a showing of good cause for the delay in filing a motion for summary judgment, the court has no discretion to entertain even a meritorious, nonprejudicial motion for summary judgment” (Bivona v Bob’s Discount Furniture of NY, LLC, 90 AD3d 796, 796 [2011] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Greenpoint Props., Inc. v Carter, 82 AD3d 1157, 1158 [2011]).

Here, the plaintiff’s motion was made almost five years after the 120-day deadline expired. The plaintiff failed to demonstrate, in its moving papers, good cause for not filing the motion in a timely manner, and only attempted to do so, improperly for the first time, in its reply papers (see Nationstar Mtge., LLC v Weisblum, 143 AD3d 866, 869 [2016]).  Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination denying, as untimely, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

Mazzurco v Gordon, 173 AD3d 1003 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, the defendants failed to meet their initial burden on their motion. The defendants sought to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by relying on the Supreme Court’s preclusion order, but they failed to demonstrate, prima facie, that the plaintiff could not meet his burden of proof at trial through evidence other than the precluded fact witnesses. To the contrary, the defendants’ own motion papers demonstrated the availability of other proof on which the plaintiff could rely at trial. Accordingly, we agree with the court’s determination to deny the defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, regardless of the sufficiency of the opposition papers (see Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853 [1985]).

Saunders v J.P.Z. Realty, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 06573 [1st Dept. 2019]

 In this regard, CPLR 3212(b) provides that a summary judgment motion “shall be supported by affidavit” of a person “having knowledge of the facts” as well as other admissible evidence (see GTF Mktg. v Colonial Aluminum Sales , 66 NY2d 965, 967 [1985]). A conclusory affidavit or an affidavit by an individual without personal knowledge of the facts does not establish the proponent’s prima facie burden (see e.g. Vermette v Kenworth Truck Co. , 68 NY2d 714 [1986]).

Necessary parties. CPLR 1001

Miller v Wendy Joan St. Wecker Trust U/A Aug. 28, 1997, 173 AD3d 1007 [2d Dept. 2019]

Necessary parties are persons “who might be inequitably affected by a judgment in the action” and must be made plaintiffs or defendants (CPLR 1001 [a]). CPLR 1001 (b) requires the court to order such persons summoned, where they are subject to the court’s jurisdiction. If jurisdiction over such necessary parties can be obtained only by their consent or appearance, the court is to determine, in accordance with CPLR 1001 (b), whether justice requires that the action proceed in their absence (see CPLR 1001 [b]). The nonjoinder of necessary parties may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, by any party or by the court on its own motion, including for the first time on appeal (see City of New York v Long Is. Airports Limousine Serv. Corp., 48 NY2d 469, 475 [1979]; Matter of Lezette v Board of Educ., Hudson City School Dist., 35 NY2d 272, 282 [1974]; Censi v Cove Landings, Inc., 65 AD3d 1066, 1067-1068 [2009]; Migliore v Manzo, 28 AD3d 620, 621 [2006]; Vincent C. Alexander, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C1003:1; see also CPLR 1003).

Here, the record indicates the possible existence of necessary parties who have not been joined, namely, the other residents of the subdivision who may possess a tenancy in common in Clock Tower Lane. Accordingly, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, to hold a hearing to determine whether there are any necessary parties who should be joined in this action and, if so, to compel their joinder, subject to any affirmative defenses, and if joinder cannot be effectuated, to determine, pursuant to CPLR 1001 (b), whether the action should proceed in the absence of any necessary parties (see Censi v Cove Landings, Inc., 65 AD3d at 1068; De Ruscio v Jackson, 164 AD2d 684, 688 [1991]).

3103: Protective orders

Pascual v Rustic Woods Homeowners Assn., Inc., 173 AD3d 757 [2d Dept. 2019]

CPLR 3101 (a) requires, in pertinent part, “full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action.” However, the principle of “full disclosure” does not give a party the right to uncontrolled and unfettered disclosure (McAlwee v Westchester Health Assoc., PLLC, 163 AD3d 547, 548 [2018] [internal quotation marks omitted]; Ramirez v New York City Tr. Auth., 132 AD3d 653, 654 [2015]; Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531, 531 [2007]).

Discovery demands are palpably improper where they seek irrelevant information, are overbroad and burdensome, or fail to specify with reasonable particularity many of the documents requested (see Jordan v City of New York, 137 AD3d 1084, 1084-1085 [2016]; H.R. Prince, Inc. v Elite Envtl. Sys., Inc., 107 AD3d 850, 850 [2013]; Matter of New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v Librizzi, 106 AD3d 921, 921 [2013]; Montalvo v CVS Pharm., Inc., 102 AD3d 842, 843 [2013]; Ural v Encompass Ins. Co. of Am., 97 AD3d 562, 566 [2012]). Where the discovery demands are overbroad, the appropriate remedy is to vacate the entire demand rather than to prune it (see Stepping Stones Assoc., L.P. v Scialdone, 148 AD3d 855, 856 [2017]; Berkowitz v 29 Woodmere Blvd. Owners’, Inc., 135 AD3d 798, 799 [2016]; Scorzari v Pezza, 111 AD3d 916, 916 [2013]; Bell v Cobble Hill Health Ctr., Inc., 22 AD3d 620, 621 [2005]).

Here, the discovery demands at issue were palpably improper in that they sought irrelevant information, or were overbroad and burdensome (see JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v Levenson, 149 AD3d 1053, 1055 [2017]; Diaz v City of New York, 117 AD3d 777, 778 [2014]; Kamanou-Goune v Swiss Intl. Airlines, 100 AD3d 968, 969 [2012]).

MPEG LA, L.L.C. v Toshiba Am. Info. Sys., Inc., 173 AD3d 611 [1st Dept. 2019]

The motion court providently exercised its discretion by denying the motion to compel the production of documents that have no bearing on the issues in this breach of contract action (see Andon v 302-304 Mott St. Assoc., 94 NY2d 740, 745 [2000]). Moreover, the court providently determined that some of the document requests were vague and overbroad (see e.g. Lerner v 300 W. 17th St. Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 232 AD2d 249 [1st Dept 1996])

Kim & Bae, P.C. v Sunki Lee, 173 AD3d 990 [2d Dept. 2019]

Contrary to the plaintiffs’ contention, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying their motion to extend the time to complete discovery and to file the note of issue. Pursuant to CPLR 2004, “[e]xcept where otherwise expressly prescribed by law, the court may extend the time fixed by any statute, rule or order for doing any act, upon such terms as may be just and upon good cause shown, whether the application for extension is made before or after the expiration of the time fixed.” The grant of such an extension of time is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court (see Tewari v Tsoutsouras, 75 NY2d 1, 11 [1989]; Oliver v Town of Hempstead, 68 AD3d 1079, 1080 [2009]; Carota v Massapequa Union Free School Dist., 272 AD2d 428, 428 [2000]). In exercising its discretion, a court may consider such factors as the length of the delay, the reason or excuse for the delay, and any prejudice to the party opposing the motion (see Tewari v Tsoutsouras, 75 NY2d at 11-12; U.S. Bank N.A. v Adler, 148 AD3d 858 [2017]; Siracusa v Fitterman, 110 AD3d 1055, 1056 [2013]).

Here, the record supports the Supreme Court’s determination to deny the plaintiffs’ request for an extension of time. A motion for a protective order only stays disclosure of the particular matter in dispute, not all discovery (see CPLR 3103 [b]; Vandashield Ltd v Isaacson, 146 AD3d 552, 556 [2017]). Thus, by filing the motion for a protective order as to certain information, the plaintiffs were not relieved of the obligation to otherwise comply with the court’s August 21, 2015, order.

However, there was no record basis for the Supreme Court to direct that the plaintiffs are precluded from offering any evidence at trial. The order dated August 21, 2015, contained a directive conditionally precluding any party from testifying at trial if that party failed to appear for a deposition as set forth in that order. As a result of the plaintiffs’ respective failures to comply with the conditional order of preclusion, that conditional order became absolute upon the plaintiffs’ noncompliance with its terms, precluding the plaintiffs from testifying at trial (see Lee v Barnett, 134 AD3d 908, 909-910 [2015]; Julien-Thomas v Platt, 133 AD3d 824, 825 [2015]; Archer Capital Fund, L.P. v GEL, LLC, 95 AD3d 800, 801 [2012]). Although the plaintiffs are, by virtue of the August 21, 2015, order, precluded from testifying at trial, that order, by its terms, does not prevent the plaintiffs from providing other evidence. No other ground for the court’s determination to prevent the plaintiffs from providing any evidence at trial appears in the record (cf. CPLR 3126). Accordingly, we modify the order appealed from by deleting so much of the order entered April 21, 2016, as directed that the plaintiffs are precluded from offering any evidence at trial.

Pursuant to CPLR 3103 (a), a court may issue a protective order denying, limiting, conditioning, or regulating the use of any disclosure device, in order “to prevent unreasonable annoyance, expense, embarrassment, disadvantage, or other prejudice to any person or the courts.” The supervision of disclosure and the setting of reasonable terms and conditions rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and, absent an improvident exercise of discretion, its determination will not be disturbed (see Noy v Noy, 160 AD3d 887 [2018]; AAA Vascular Care, PLLC v Integrated Healthcare Mgt., LLC, 99 AD3d 642 [2012]; Spodek v Neiss, 70 AD3d 810 [2010]).

Here, the affidavit of the plaintiff Bong June Kim submitted in support of that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was for a protective order contained only conclusory assertions that confidentiality protection was necessary (see JPMorgan Chase Funding Inc. v Cohan, 134 AD3d 455 [2015]; Linderman v Pennsylvania Bldg. Co., 289 AD2d 77, 78 [2001]). Additionally, the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate unreasonable annoyance, embarrassment, disadvantage, or prejudice to warrant the issuance of a protective order (see CPLR 3103 [a]; Noy v Noy, 160 AD3d at 887-888). Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination in the order dated May 17, 2016, denying that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was for a protective order.

Discovery mid-trial (CPLR 3102(d), law of the case, and willful refusal

Matter of Michael R. v Amanda R., 2019 NY Slip Op 06454 [2d Dept. 2019]

A party may seek additional disclosure after trial commences only by permission of the trial court on notice (CPLR 3102[d]). Here, the father never sought permission for posttrial discovery. Nor do the father’s motion papers demonstrate any reason why he should have been permitted to pursue additional discovery more than a year after trial commenced. In view of this, and the fact that the mother faced contempt penalties if she were unable to present evidence about her ability to pay, the Support Magistrate improvidently exercised his discretion in “precluding” the mother from presenting evidence and testimony that he had already admitted into evidence at trial more than a year previously.

***

Third, contrary to the Family Court’s conclusion that the mother was also barred from objecting to the amount of arrears by the doctrine of law of the case, that doctrine is only applicable to “legal determinations that were necessarily resolved on the merits in a prior decision” (J.P. Morgan Sec., Inc. v Vigilant Ins. Co., 166 AD3d 1, 8 [1st Dept 2018] [emphasis added] [internal quotation marks omitted]). Since the mother’s earlier-filed objections were denied on procedural grounds, the application of the doctrine of the law of the case did not apply under the circumstances here.

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. v Bergos, 18 AD3d 218 [1st Dept. 2005]

The record in this attorney fee dispute discloses that defendants willfully refused or simply failed to avail themselves of the opportunity to take plaintiff’s deposition prior to the deadline set forth in the preliminary conference stipulation, and willfully refused to obtain copies of documents that defense counsel had already inspected and tagged for copying. Under these circumstances, defendants’ motion to vacate the note of issue was properly denied since the certificate of readiness correctly represented that defendants had waived any right they had to additional discovery (cf. Munoz v 147 Corp., 309 AD2d 647, 648 [2003]; Ortiz v Arias, 285 AD2d 390 [2001]).

 

Intervention (CPLR 1012 and 1013)

Town of Warwick v Black Bear Campgrounds, 168 AD3d 1020 [2d Dept. 2019]

Intervention pursuant to either CPLR 1012 or 1013 requires a timely motion (see CPLR 1012, 1013; Castle Peak 2012-1 Loan Trust v Sattar, 140 AD3d 1107, 1108 [2016]; U.S. Bank N.A. v Bisono, 98 AD3d 608, 609 [2012]). Under the circumstances presented here, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to deny, as untimely, the proposed intervenors’ motion for leave to intervene (see Matter of Rutherford Chems., LLC v Assessor of Town of Woodbury, 115 AD3d 960, 961 [2014]; Matter of Arcelormittal Lackawanna LLC v City of Lackawanna, 66 AD3d 1365, 1365-1366 [2009]; Rectory Realty Assoc. v Town of Southampton, 151 AD2d 737, 737-738 [1989]).

Hearsay / 4518 / 4519

Grechko v Maimonides Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06478 [2d Dept. 2019]

The defendants argue that the entries in the Coney Island Hospital records were admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. “A hearsay entry in a hospital record is admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule if the entry is germane to the diagnosis or treatment of the patient” (Berkovits v Chaaya, 138 AD3d 1050, 1051; see CPLR 4518[a]). Here, although the entries were germane to the decedent’s diagnosis and treatment, the defendants failed to offer foundational testimony under CPLR 4518(a) or certification under CPLR 4518(c) (cf. Matter of Kai B., 38 AD3d 882, 884). Accordingly, the entries were not admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule.

If an entry in the medical records “is inconsistent with a position taken by a party at trial, it is admissible as an admission by that party, even if it is not germane to the diagnosis or treatment, as long as there is evidence connecting the party to the entry'” (Robles v Polytemp, Inc., 127 AD3d 1052, 1054, quoting Coker v Bakkal Foods, Inc., 52 AD3d 765, 766). Here, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to preclude so much of Rakhmanchik’s entry as stated that, according to the decedent’s primary care physician, the decedent signed an AMA form at the Medical Center, as the entry clearly states that the decedent’s primary care physician, not the decedent himself, was the source of the information contained therein (see Robles v Polytemp, Inc., 127 AD3d at 1054; cf. Amann v Edmonds, 306 AD2d 362, 363). However, we disagree with the court’s ruling that the plaintiff opened the door to the admission of Rakhmanchik’s entry with the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert physician. The expert did not testify to any conversations between the decedent’s primary care physician and Rakhmanchik, but only to the decedent’s own statements.

Moreover, we disagree with the Supreme Court that Uddin’s entry was admissible, as the defendants failed to establish that the decedent was the source of the information that he left the Medical Center after signing an AMA form (see Coker v Bakkal Foods, Inc., 52 AD3d at 766; Cuevas v Alexander’s, Inc., 23 AD3d 428, 429; Thompson v Green Bus Lines, 280 AD2d 468, 468; Ginsberg v North Shore Hosp., 213 AD2d 592, 592-593; Echeverria v City of New York, 166 AD2d 409, 410).

Additionally, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s determination that the deposition testimony of Uddin and Volovoy was admissible. Pursuant to CPLR 4519, otherwise known as the Dead Man’s Statute, “[u]pon the trial of an action . . . a party or a person interested in the event . . . shall not be examined as a witness in his [or her] own behalf or interest . . . against the executor, administrator or survivor of a deceased person or the committee of a mentally ill person . . . concerning a personal transaction or communication between the witness and the deceased person or mentally ill person, except where the executor, administrator, survivor, committee or person so deriving title or interest is examined in his [or her] own behalf, of the testimony of the mentally ill person or deceased person is given in evidence, concerning the same transaction or communication.” Here, both Volovoy and Uddin were defendants at the time they gave deposition testimony, making them interested parties under the statute (see Durazinski v Chandler, 41 AD3d 918, 920). Moreover, they both testified to transactions or communications with the decedent and sought to offer that testimony against the decedent’s estate. Accordingly, the Dead Man’s Statute applied to, and barred, the admission of their deposition testimony.

The defendants argue that the plaintiff waived the protections of the Dead Man’s Statute by eliciting the communications at issue. However, “[t]he executor does not waive rights under the statute by taking the opponent’s deposition” (Phillips v Kantor & Co., 31 NY2d 307, 313; see Wall St. Assoc. v Brodsky, 295 AD2d 262, 263). Additionally, although the defendants contend that Volovoy’s deposition testimony was properly admitted for impeachment purposes, deposition testimony may only be used to impeach a witness “so far as admissible under the rules of evidence” (CPLR 3117[a]; see Rivera v New York City Tr. Auth., 54 AD3d 545, 547). Contrary to the defendants’ contention, the declaration of the decedent did not fall within the declaration against interest exception to the hearsay rule because the defendants failed to establish that the subject statement was against the decedent’s interest when made (see Field v Schultz, 308 AD2d 505, 506). Moreover, where the Dead Man’s Statute renders a witness’s testimony inadmissible, “the fact that the testimony would fall within an exception to the hearsay rule is simply irrelevant” (Wall St. Assoc. v Brodsky, 295 AD2d at 263 [internal quotation marks omitted]).

Under the circumstances here, the erroneous admission of the entries contained in the Coney Island Hospital record and the deposition testimony of Uddin and Volovoy cannot be deemed harmless, as the entries and testimony related to the very issue to be determined by the jury, i.e., whether Orr and the Medical Center failed to recognize the severity of the decedent’s illness (see Cuevas v Alexander’s, Inc., 23 AD3d at 429). A new trial is therefore necessary.

HSBC Bank USA, Natl. Assn. v Green, 2019 NY Slip Op 06482 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, the plaintiff established standing by submitting the note, the mortgage, and the endorsement of the note in blank, when it filed the complaint (see e.g. U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v Cox, 148 AD3d 962, 963; Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v Garrison, 147 AD3d 725, 726). However, Green correctly contends that the plaintiff failed to submit evidence establishing her default. Wilson failed to attach or incorporate any of Wells Fargo’s business records to her affidavit. Accordingly, her affidavit constituted inadmissible hearsay and lacked probative value (see Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Gordon, 171 AD3d 197).

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the plaintiff’s motion for leave to renew the motion for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against Green and for an order of reference. ” A motion for leave to renew is not a second chance freely given to parties who have not exercised due diligence in making their first factual presentation'” (Kamdem-Ouaffo v Pepsico, Inc., 133 AD3d 828, 828, quoting Elder v Elder, 21 AD3d 1055, 1055). Here, the plaintiff failed to provide a reasonable explanation for failing to provide the information contained in Brooks’s affidavit with the original motion (see Caffee v Arnold, 104 AD2d 352). In any event, Brooks’s affidavit failed to establish Green’s default. Thus, her affidavit would not have changed the prior determination.

We also agree with the Supreme Court’s determination that the plaintiff failed to meet its prima facie burden at trial. “A proper foundation for the admission of a business record must be provided by someone with personal knowledge of the maker’s business practices and procedures” (Citibank, N.A. v Cabrera, 130 AD3d 861, 861; see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Mercius, 138 AD3d 650, 652). At the trial in this case, Wiggins testified only that he had access to Wells Fargo’s computerized records. He did not testify that he was familiar with Wells Fargo’s practices in making those records, and he failed to state that he had any knowledge regarding the plaintiff’s records. Moreover, the plaintiff did not attempt to introduce any of the relevant records into evidence.

Vacatur

CVM Partners 1, LLC v Adams, 173 AD3d 971 [2d Dept. 2019]

No appeal lies from an order or judgment granted upon the default of the appealing party (see CPLR 5511; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Gervais, 168 AD3d 692, 693 [2019]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Simms, 163 AD3d 930, 932 [2018]; Adotey v British Airways, PLC, 145 AD3d 748, 749 [2016]). Although “an appeal from such a judgment brings up for review those matters which were the subject of contest before the Supreme Court” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 167 AD3d 571, 572 [2018] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Bottini v Bottini, 164 AD3d 556, 558 [2018]; Alam v Alam, 123 AD3d 1066, 1067 [2014]), the defendant here defaulted at every stage of the proceedings, beginning with his failure to appear or answer the complaint, continuing with his failure to appear on the return dates of his two motions, brought on by orders to show cause, one of which sought to vacate his default in failing to appear at a scheduled court conference, and ending with his failure to oppose the motions that led to the amended judgment of foreclosure and sale appealed from. Accordingly, since there were no “matters which were the subject of contest before the Supreme Court” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 167 AD3d at 572 [internal quotation marks omitted]), the appeal must be dismissed in its entirety.

Equity Inv. & Mtge. Co. v Smith, 173 AD3d 690 [2d Dept. 2019]

Although courts have discretionary power to relieve a party from a judgment or order “for sufficient reason and in the interest[ ] of substantial justice” (Woodson v Mendon Leasing Corp., 100 NY2d 62, 68 [2003]; see Katz v Marra, 74 AD3d 888, 890 [2010]), “[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 [1984] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see HSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d 788, 790 [2017]). Here, the arguments advanced by the City in support of its motion did not constitute grounds for relief, either under CPLR 5015 (a) or pursuant to the Supreme Court’s inherent discretionary power to vacate the judgment for sufficient reason and in the interest of substantial justice (see Matter of McKenna v County of Nassau, Off. of County Attorney, 61 NY2d at 742; HSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d at 790; Alexander v New York City Tr. Auth., 35 AD3d 772 [2006]).

Diamond v Leone, 173 AD3d 686 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in finding that the plaintiff did not demonstrate a reasonable excuse for her failure to appear on November 28, 2017. In an affirmation in support of the motion, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted a detailed and credible explanation of the law office failure which caused the default in appearing. The plaintiff’s attorney affirmed that an entry in the “Comments” field for the subject appearance date on the “eLaw” website had created confusion as to whether the scheduled appearance had been adjourned from November 28 to November 30, and that the attorney’s law office had repeatedly attempted to contact the Part Clerk on November 27 and November 28 for clarification and had left a voicemail message. The attorney affirmed that when his law office finally communicated directly with the Part Clerk at approximately 11:30 a.m. on November 28, his law office was advised that the case had been dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to appear. The attorney’s affirmation was supported by, among other things, printouts from the “eLaw” website. Therefore, the plaintiff provided a reasonable excuse for failing to appear (see 555 Prospect Assoc., LLC v Greenwich Design & Dev. Group Corp., 154 AD3d 909 [2017]; Hobbins v North Star Orthopedics, PLLC, 148 AD3d 784 [2017]; Polsky v Simon, 145 AD3d 693 [2016]). The plaintiff also demonstrated a potentially meritorious cause of action (see 555 Prospect Assoc., LLC v Greenwich Design & Dev. Group Corp., 154 AD3d at 910). Accordingly, the court should have granted the plaintiff’s motion to vacate the “order on default” dated November 28, 2017, and to restore the action to the trial calendar.

Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Ruci, 168 AD3d 799 [2d Dept. 2019]

The appellant’s vague and unsubstantiated claim of law office failure by an unidentified attorney was insufficient to establish a reasonable excuse for her default (see LaSalle Bank, N.A. v LoRusso, 155 AD3d 706, 707 [2017]; U.S. Bank N.A. v Barr, 139 AD3d 937, 938 [2016]; M & T Bank v Morris, 138 AD3d 939 [2016]). Since the appellant failed to establish a reasonable excuse for her default, it is not necessary to determine whether she demonstrated a potentially meritorious defense to the action (see LaSalle Bank, N.A. v LoRusso, 155 AD3d at 706; Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Colucci, 138 AD3d 1047, 1048 [2016]; M & T Bank v Morris, 138 AD3d at 940). 

EMC Mtge. Corp. v Walker, 2019 NY Slip Op 06474 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, when the plaintiff moved, in effect, to vacate the May 2013 order and to restore the action to the calendar, it failed to proffer a reasonable excuse for its default in appearing at the scheduled court conference, and merely alleged that “there was no missed appearance, and as such 22 NYCRR 202.27 does not apply.” Moreover, the plaintiff failed to articulate any basis for the more than 2½-year delay in moving to vacate the order of dismissal (see id. at 1252; Wright v City of Poughkeepsie, 136 AD3d 809). In light of the lack of a reasonable excuse, it is unnecessary to determine whether the plaintiff demonstrated the existence of a potentially meritorious cause of action (see Wright v City of Poughkeepsie, 136 AD3d at 809; Selechnik v Law Off. of Howard R. Birnbach, 120 AD3d 1220). Thus, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to hold a traverse hearing on June 22, 2016, and its subsequent determination granting the plaintiff’s motion, in effect, pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to vacate the May 2013 order and to restore the action to the calendar, and that branch of the plaintiff’s separate motion which was to extend the time to serve Walker in the interest of justice.

LaSalle Bank, N.A. v Delice, 2019 NY Slip Op 06485 [2d Dept. 2019]

Most importantly, the plaintiff did not provide any explanation as to why it delayed more than five years before filing its motion to vacate, apart from the vague assertion that it hired new counsel because, at some point, the law firm that represented the plaintiff at the time of the January 2011 order subsequently closed. The plaintiff’s contention that the delay was justified because its subsequent counsel expended extensive efforts to comply with Administrative Orders 548/10 and 431/11 of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts is raised for the first time on appeal and not properly before us (cf. U.S. Bank N.A. v Ahmed, 137 AD3d 1106, 1108-1109). The plaintiff’s lengthy delay in moving to vacate, failure to adequately explain the delay, and failure to pursue other available avenues of relief support the court’s determination not to exercise its discretion to vacate the dismissal order in the interests of substantial justice (seeHSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d at 790; cf. U.S. Bank N.A. v Ahmed, 137 AD3d at 1108-1109).

CPLR 5513(a)

W. Rogowski Farm, LLC v County of Orange, 2019 NY Slip Op 01815 [2d Dept. 2019]

[W]e hold that service of the order or judgment with written notice of entry by any party upon the other parties to the action operates to commence the 30-day time to appeal with respect to not only the serving party, but all the parties in the action.

***

[T]he language of CPLR 5513(a) as to who serves notice of entry is not limited to the “prevailing party,” or to “the appealing party,” or to “the party seeking to limit an adversary’s appellate time.” Rather, “a” party, which is unrestricted, necessarily refers to “any” party to an action. As a result, the service of an order or judgment with written notice of entry commences the 30-day time to appeal as to not only the party performing the service, but as to all other parties as well.

***

The plaintiffs argue that the County’s motion to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against it is untimely, as the motion was not filed until after the parties’ briefs had been fully submitted, and that the issue is otherwise waived.
The County’s motion to dismiss is nevertheless entertained and granted on its merits. As previously noted, the time period for filing a notice of appeal is jurisdictional in nature and non-waivable.

Discovery

O’Halloran v Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 2019 NY Slip Op 01318 [1st Dept. 2019]

The court providently exercised its discretion in granting in part plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery and ordering defendants to run searches of electronic mailboxes of defendants’ employees and to produce those documents responsive to plaintiffs’ requests (CPLR 3101[a]; 148 Magnolia, LLC v Merrimack Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 62 AD3d 486, 487 [1st Dept 2009]; see also Andon v 302-304 Mott St. Assoc., 94 NY2d 740, 745 [2000]; GoSMILE, Inc. v Levine, 112 AD3d 469 [1st Dept 2013]). The record demonstrates that plaintiff’s requests seek material and necessary information, and that her search terms, all of which were to be combined with her name or nickname or the name or nickname of a coworker she alleges was discriminated or retaliated against on similar grounds, would result in the disclosure of relevant evidence, and are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant information.

Plaintiff’s second Supplemental Request for Production of Documents, dated November 30, 2017, seeking all complaints, discrimination-related or not, involving defendant George Menduina’s conduct from 2010 to present, sought information material and necessary to this particular lawsuit because such information was relevant not only to whether Menduina, plaintiff’s supervisor, discriminated against plaintiff, but also to whether Menduina was more qualified than plaintiff to hold the very position that plaintiff alleges she was denied for discriminatory reasons.

Fowler v Buffa, 2019 NY Slip Op 01306 [1st Dept. 2019]

The trial court did not err in precluding a disability insurance form alleged to contain a statement against interest from defendant Anurag Shrivastava, M.D. The imposition of sanctions for discovery misfeasance is a matter better left to the sound discretion of the trial court (see Gomez v New York City Hous. Auth., 217 AD2d 110, 114 [1st Dept 1995]). CPLR 3101 provides that there shall be full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action, including a party’s own statements (see also Sands v News Am. Publ., 161 AD2d 30, 42 [1st Dept 1990]). Plaintiff’s disclosure of the document less than two days prior to trial was an unfair surprise for which no reasonable excuse was proffered (see Curbean v Kibel, 12 AD3d 206, 207 [1st Dept 2004]; Ward v Mehar, 264 AD2d 515, 516 [2d Dept 1999]).