CPLR 2309(c)

CPLR 2309

Freedom Mtge. Corp. v Toro, 2014 NY Slip Op 00479 [2nd Dept. 2014]

It appears from this record that the plaintiff was the holder of the mortgage and note. In any event, by failing to appear in the action, the debtor waived the defense of lack of standing (see HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Taher, 104 AD3d 815, 817). However, the affidavit attesting to the debtor's default in repaying the mortgage loan did not comply with CPLR 2309(c). Under the circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying relief to the movant without prejudice.

Bold is mine.

CPLR § 2309 (reminder to me: pull the file)

CPLR § 2309 Oaths and affirmations

Ogman v Mastrantonio Catering, Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op 01813 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

In support of their motion for leave to enter a judgment on the issue of liability against the defendant upon its failure to appear or answer, the plaintiffs submitted their process server's affidavit of service, an affidavit of merit, and their attorney's affirmation regarding the defendant's default (see CPLR 3215[f]).

To successfully oppose the plaintiffs' motion and in support of its cross motion to compel the plaintiffs to accept the late answer, the defendant was required to demonstrate a justifiable excuse for its default and the existence of a potentially meritorious defense to the action (see CPLR 5015[a][1]; May v Hartsdale Manor Owners Corp., 73 AD3d 713; Gross v Kail, 70 AD3d 997, 998; Leifer v Pilgreen Corp., 62 AD3d 759, 760; Kouzios v Dery, 57 AD3d 949). The affirmation of the defendant's president, which was submitted in an effort to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious defense, was not in an authorized form (see CPLR 2309; Slavenburg Corp. v Opus Apparel, 53 NY2d 799, 801 n; Martinez v D'Alessandro Custom Bldrs. & Demolition, Inc., 52 AD3d 786, 787; Pampalone v Giant Bldg. Maintenance, Inc., 17 AD3d 556, 557; United Talmudical Academy of Kiryas Joel v Khal Bais Halevi Religious Corp., 232 AD2d 547, 548). Furthermore, the affirmation of the defendant's attorney failed to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for the default in answering and for the lengthy delay in cross-moving to compel the plaintiffs to accept the late answer (see Holloman v City of New York, 52 AD3d 568, 569; Miller v Ateres Shlomo, LLC, 49 AD3d 612, 613; Robinson v 1068 [*2]Flatbush Realty, Inc., 10 AD3d 716). Moreover, the defendant's proposed answer was verified only by its attorney, who had no personal knowledge of the facts (see Gross v Kail, 70 AD3d at 998; Baldwin v Mateogarcia, 57 AD3d 594, 595; Bekker v Fleischman, 35 AD3d 334, 335). Accordingly, the plaintiffs' motion should have been granted and the defendant's cross motion should have been denied.

2309(c) still dead

Hall v Elrac, Inc.2010 NY Slip Op 08864 (App. Div., 1st 2010)

We find that the IAS court properly considered the affidavit of defendant Elrac's senior account manager in the damage unit in concluding that defendant's disposal of the vehicle in question was not done in bad faith. Initially, plaintiff's claim that the affidavit was not in admissible form because it was signed outside New York State but notarized by a New York notary, without providing a certificate of conformity as required by CPLR 2309(c) and Real Property Law § 299-a is unpreserved (see Matapos Tech. Ltd. v Compania Andina de Comercio Ltda, 68 AD3d 672, 673 [2009]; P.T. Bank Cent. Asia v Chinese Am. Bank, 229 AD2d 224, 229 [1997]). In any event, as long as the oath is duly given, authentication of the oathgiver's authority can be secured later, and given nunc pro tunc effect if necessary (Matapos Tech. Ltd., 68 AD3d at 673).

The affidavit was based on the affiant's personal knowledge and his review of the documents, including wholesale purchase order/bill of sale and the check received by defendant in payment for the wrecked vehicle, sold as salvage, which established the date of transfer. This is not a summary judgment motion, where the movant's evidence must be in admissible form, and even a summary judgment motion affords some flexibility to the party opposing the motion (see Friends of Animals v Associated Fur Mfrs., 46 NY2d 1065, 1067-1068 [1979]).

 

CPLR R. 2106 Affirming a document is not enough

CPLR R. 2106 Affirmation of truth of statement by attorney, physician, osteopath or dentist

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Hereford Ins. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 51543(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2010)

By notice of petition and petition dated May 14, 2008, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) commenced this proceeding to confirm a handwritten arbitration award dated June 19, 2007. Hereford Insurance Company (Hereford) opposed such relief, arguing, inter alia, that State Farm was, in effect, seeking either to vacate a final typewritten arbitration award dated July 7, 2007, thereby reinstating the handwritten award dated June 19, 2007, or to modify the July 7, 2007 award by conforming it to the June 19, 2007 award, and, as such, the proceeding was untimely as exceeding the 90-day time period within which an award may be vacated or modified (see CPLR 7511 [a]). The Civil Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding without prejudice to the commencement of a new proceeding, finding that the handwritten award was not in proper form because of a problem with the arbitrator's affirmation (see CPLR 7509). On appeal, State Farm contends that the petition to confirm the handwritten award should have been granted, and Hereford contends, inter alia, that the proceeding should have been dismissed with prejudice as it was not timely commenced.

CPLR 7510 permits a party to confirm an award; however, an award by definition must be in writing, signed and affirmed (CPLR 7507). For a document to be properly affirmed, there must be compliance with either CPLR 2309 or CPLR 2106. Here, the document submitted with the petition does not comply with the requisites of either statute. The handwritten award signed by the arbitrator, dated June 19, 2007, simply states: "This decision is according to my understanding of the current local law and the facts presented. I may not render a decision on a case where I or my company is directly or indirectly interested, or where there is even an appearance of bias. I affirm that I have read [*2]and understand the following."

This is not in an authorized form; the mere statement that a person affirms a document is insufficient (Slavenburg Corp. v Opus Apparel, Inc., 53 NY2d 799 [1981]). State Farm's assertion that arbitrators have been using this vague language for years is irrelevant. Consequently, the Civil Court acted within its discretion in allowing petitioner a further opportunity to submit an award in proper form for confirmation. Accordingly, the order is affirmed.

The bold is mine.

No specific form of oath required in New York: CPLR § 2309

CPLR §
2309 Oaths and affirmations

(b)
Form:
An oath or affirmation shall be administered in a form
calculated to awaken the conscience and impress the mind of the person
taking it in accordance with his religious or ethical beliefs.

Furtow v Jenstro Enters., Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 05987 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

Contrary to the Supreme Court's determination, the affidavit submitted
by the defendant Allen Yam Ching was in admissible form and should have
been considered by the court in opposition to the plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment. "There is no specific form of oath required in this
State, other than that it be calculated to awaken the conscience and
impress the mind of the person taking it in accordance with his or her
religious or ethical beliefs"
(Feinman v Mennan Oil Co., 248 AD2d
503, 504; see CPLR 2309[b]). "In addition, a notary, in the
absence of a showing to the contrary, is presumed to have acted within
his or her jurisdiction and to have carried out the duties required by
law"
(Feinman v Mennan Oil Co., 248 AD2d at 504; see Collins v
AA Truck Renting Corp.,
209 AD2d 363). Here, Ching submitted an
affidavit which recited that he was "duly sworn" and contained a jurat
stating that the affidavit was "sworn to before" a notary public, who
signed and stamped the document. On the record presented here, the form
of the affidavit was adequate
(see Sirico v F.G.G. Prods., Inc., 71 AD3d 429;
Sparaco v Sparaco, 309 AD2d 1029, 1030; Feinman v Mennan Oil
Co.,
248 AD2d at 504; Collins v AA Truck Renting Corp., 209
AD2d at 363).

This is the bare minimum.  The bold is mine.

The sad state of CPLR § 2309 and other things.

CPLR § 2309 is a disaster.  The courts are wildly inconsistent in how they treat it.  Some prefer the substance over form approach and others do the opposite.  Not too long ago, the Appellate Term, First Department allowed a party to add a certificate of conformity at the appellate level.  See, Eastern
Star Acupuncture, P.C. v Clarendon Natl. Ins. Co.
,
2010 NY Slip
Op 50043(U) (App. Term, 1st, 2010)A few days ago, the Appellate Division, First Department wasn't as understanding. (h/t JT).  In Green v Fairway Operating Corp., 2010 NY Slip Op 03481 (App. Div., 1st, 2010) the defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted on default.  Plaintiff moved to vacate and attached an affidavit from a non-party witness which was sworn in the DR.  The plaintiff's motion was denied and the Appellate Division affirmed.  I think I said this once before, but it remains true, it's an exceptionally silly reason to lose a motion.  JT compares it to russian roulette, which is pretty apt.

The last time I wrote about 2309, I said that it was a dead objection, or something like that.  It appears that, in the first department at least, it is alive and well.  The objection, however, must be made in the papers, otherwise it's waived.  You'll find that most people don't know enough to object.

I'm sure you're thinking, "well, what's the rule in the First Department after Green?"  I have no idea.  I'd be interested to see what the Appellate Term does with Green.  Will it distinguish it or make 2309 a hard rule?

Other issues on my mind:

  • Why is there a split between the Second and First Department as to what is required to show a "reasonable excuse" when attempting to vacate a default?
  • Why do the courts allow a defendant to move to dismiss under CPLR R. 3211(a)(7) when the defendant is not claiming that the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action?  When affidavits and other proofs are attached, the courts change their inquiry from whether plaintiff has stated a cause of action to whether plaintiff has a cause of action (which is different from whether a plaintiff will ultimate be successful with that cause of action).  This, mind you, is different than a court converting it to a motion for summary judgment.  It just doesn't make any damn sense to me.

CPLR § 2309: What’s the point?

CPLR § 2309 Oaths and affirmations
(c) Oaths and affirmations taken without the state.

CPLR § 2309 has been watered down so as to be non-existent.  And from what I can tell, it serves no useful purpose.  Why not just scrap the damn thing.  I really don’t care whether we have the section or not; however, it’s dumb to keep it there for the sake of keeping it there.

Why the sudden outburst?

JT over at No-Fault Defender has been going on and on and on about 2309. And after seeing several decisions on the issue, came to the same conclusion.  Actually, he came to the conclusion first.  We do however, disagree as to the application of 2309.  I say, if it’s there, just apply the damn thing.  Don’t get cute with it.  Don’t allow parties to fix it at the appellate level, like the Appellate Term did in Eastern Star Acupuncture, P.C. v Clarendon Natl. Ins. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 50043(U) (App. Term, 1st, 2010):

Order (Raul Cruz, J.), entered October 16, 2008, reversed, without costs, motion granted and complaint dismissed on the condition that defendant, within 60 days of service upon it of a copy of this order with notice of entry, files with the Clerk of the Civil Court and serves upon plaintiffs an affidavit of Steven Esteves that is accompanied by a certificate demonstrating that the notary administered the oath as prescribed by the laws of the State of New Jersey. In the event defendant fails to duly file and serve such an affidavit, the order is affirmed, without costs.

The affidavit submitted by defendant of its employee (Esteves) established defendant’s entitlement to summary judgment dismissing this action to recover first-party no-fault benefits. Plaintiffs, however, raised a timely objection to the form of this affidavit, asserting that it did not comply with CPLR 2309(c). Specifically, plaintiffs correctly note that the affidavit failed to include a certificate demonstrating that the notary administered the oath as prescribed by the laws of the State of New Jersey, the state in which the oath was administered (see CPLR 2309[c]; Real Property Law § 299-a[1]; PRA III, LLC v Gonzalez, 54 AD3d 917 [2008]). Inasmuch as the document can be given nunc pro tunc effect once the appropriate certificate is obtained (Nandy v Albany Med. Ctr. Hosp., 155 AD2d 833, 834 [1989]; see Moccia v. Carrier Car Rental, Inc., 40 AD3d 504, 505 [2008]; see also Matapos Tech. Ltd. v Compania Andina de Comercio Ltda, ___AD3d___, 2009 NY Slip Op. 09713 [Dec. 29, 2009]), we reverse the order and grant defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the conditions stated above (cf. Sandoro v Andzel, 307 AD2d 706, 708-708 [2003]).

JT made a very similar suggestion right before the decision was published.  What happens if defendant screws up the 2309(c) affidavit?  It happens more often than you think.

Out of State Affidavit: CPLR § 2309(c); RPL § 299-a (1) Substance Rules the Day

CPLR § 2309 Oaths and affirmations
(c) Oaths and affirmations taken without the state.

RPL § 299-a. Acknowledgment to conform to law of New York or of place where taken; certificate of conformity

Andromeda Med. Care, P.C. v Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 2009 NY Slip Op 51629(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 2009)

The affidavits proffered by defendant in support of its
motion for summary judgment were executed out of state. Although the
affidavits were accompanied by documents that purported to be
certificates of conformity, the certificates did not comply with Real
Property Law § 299-a and, thus, the affidavits did not comply with CPLR
2309 (c) (see Ford Motor Credit Co. v Prestige Gown Cleaning Serv.,
193 Misc 2d 262 [2002])
. Since this defect was duly objected to by
plaintiff in the Civil Court, defendant failed to introduce competent
evidence in admissible form establishing its entitlement to summary
judgment (see Impulse Chiropractic, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 19 Misc 3d 127[A],
2008 NY Slip Op 50498[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]).
Consequently, defendant's motion for summary judgment should have been
denied (id.).

This issue seem peculiar to no-fault litigation.  While you see it pop up here in there in other areas of law, it is not nearly as frequent as it is in no-fault.