Service Complete upon Service: CPLR § 311

CPLR § 311 Personal service upon a corporation or governmental subdivision

Claudio v Show Piers on the Hudson, 2011 NY Slip Op 01585 (App. Div. 1st 2011)

The motion court properly charged Port Parties with knowledge of plaintiff's claim as of May 15, 2008. Service of process on Port Parties was "complete" when the summons and complaint were personally served upon an authorized agent of the Secretary of State on that date (Business Corporation Law § 306[b][1]; CPLR 311). Port Parties' contention that it did not actually receive the copy mailed to it by the Secretary of State is unsupported by the record and, in any event, unavailing. Business Corporation Law § 306(b)(1) does not make completion of  service contingent upon the Secretary of State's mailing (see Flick v Stewart-Warner Corp., 76 NY2d 50, 56-57 [1990]).


The CPLR R. 3211 Roundup: It’s going to be loooong.

Because I can't let all of these decisions keep on piling up, I'm doing a 3211 dump.  This will probably be followed by a 300's dump, and maybe a 3212 dump.

There is a lot here, but it's worth skimming.  Most of the cases related to improper service or conversion (3211–>3212).

v China Natural Gas, Inc.
2010 NY Slip Op 02095 (App. Div.,
2nd, 2010)

Although the defendants' motion was
made pursuant to CPLR 3211, the
Supreme Court, in effect, converted that branch of the motion which was
to dismiss the cause of action alleging breach of contract into a motion
for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212. This was error
Mihlovan v Grozavu
, 72 NY2d 506; Bowes v Healy, 40 AD3d 566).
Thus, this Court will apply to the entire complaint the standards
applicable to a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211
Neurological Serv. of Queens, P.C. v Farmingville Family Med. Care, PLLC
63 AD3d 703, 704).

In assessing a motion to dismiss made
pursuant to CPLR
3211(a)(7), the facts pleaded are presumed to be true and are accorded
every favorable inference
(see Riback v Margulis, 43 AD3d
However, bare legal conclusions, as well as factual claims flatly
contradicted by the record, are not entitled to any such consideration (id.).

He-Duan Zheng v American Friends of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church
of Malabar, Inc.
67 AD3d 639 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

The defendant Mar Thoma Church (hereinafter the Church) alleged that
the plaintiff failed to
obtain leave of court prior to serving a supplemental summons and
amended complaint naming it
as a defendant in this action (see CPLR 1003). However, the
failure to obtain prior leave
of court is a waivable defect, and is not fatal in all instances
Gross v BFH Co.,
AD2d 452 [1989]; see also Tarallo v Gottesman, 204 AD2d 303
[1994]; Santopolo v
Turner Constr. Co.,
181 AD2d 429 [1992]; cf. Public Adm'r of Kings County v McBride, 15
AD3d 558


In this case, the Church failed to raise its defense of improper
joinder in a timely, pre-answer
motion to dismiss the complaint, and also failed to assert such defense
in its answer.
Accordingly, it waived the defense (see CPLR 3211 [a] [8]; [e]).

The defense that the
Church did raise, that the court lacked jurisdiction over it, "by reason
of the manner in which the
summons was served," implicates the distinct personal jurisdictional
defense of improper service
of process, and was insufficiently specific to place the plaintiff on
notice that the Church was
complaining of improper joinder
(see McDaniel v Clarkstown Cent.
Dist. No. 1,
AD2d 624, 625 [1981]).

In any event, the Church waived its improper joinder defense by
its conduct in [*2]attending and
participating in a preliminary conference setting forth
a schedule for discovery, and in waiting until after the applicable
statute of limitations had
expired prior to making its motion to dismiss
(see Tarallo v
204 AD2d 303
[1994]; Santopolo v Turner Constr. Co., 181 AD2d 429 [1992]; Gross
v BFH Co.,
151 AD2d 452 [1989]). Moreover, the Church cannot claim surprise or
prejudice due to the
plaintiff's delay in seeking leave to add it as a defendant in light of
the statements made by its
Treasurer to the investigators for its insurance carrier indicating that
the Church was aware of the
subject accident on the very day that it occurred.

Pistolese v William Floyd Union Free Dist., 69 AD3d 825 (App. Div., 2nd, 2010)

In late June 2008, on the last day of the school year, the infant
plaintiff allegedly was
assaulted by other youths, as he walked home from school with friends
rather than ride a school
bus. The incident allegedly occurred along Montauk Highway, some 30
minutes after the infant
plaintiff left the school grounds. Although this was a pre-answer
motion, under the facts of this
case, the Supreme Court should have treated it as one for summary
judgment pursuant to CPLR
3211 (c) since the defendant not only requested such treatment, but both
the defendant and the
plaintiffs deliberately charted a summary judgment course
Mihlovan v Grozavu
, 72
NY2d 506, 508 [1988]; see generally
McNamee Constr. Corp. v City of New Rochelle
, 29 AD3d 544
, 545

While schools are under a duty to adequately supervise the
students in their charge, they are
not insurers of the safety of their students (see Vernali v Harrison Cent. School Dist., 51
AD3d 782
, 783
[2008]; Maldonado v Tuckahoe Union
Free School Dist
., 30 AD3d 567
, 568 [2006]; Chalen v Glen Cove School Dist., 29 AD3d 508,
509 [2006]). "[A]
school's duty is coextensive with, and concomitant with, its physical
custody and control over a
child" (Stagg v City of New York,
39 AD3d 533
, 534 [2007]) and its "custodial duty ceases once the
student has passed out of
its orbit of authority and the parent is perfectly free to reassume
control over the child's
protection" (Vernali v Harrison Cent. School Dist., 51 AD3d at
783; see Pratt v
, 39 NY2d 554, 560 [1976]).

Here, the incident occurred at a
time when the injured
plaintiff was no longer in the defendant's custody or under its control
and was, thus, outside of
the orbit of its authority. Accordingly, the defendant demonstrated its
prima facie entitlement to
judgment as a matter of law (see
Fotiadis v City of New York
, 49 AD3d 499
[2008]; Stagg v City of New York, 39 AD3d 533, 534
[2007]; Morning v Riverhead Cent. School
, 27 AD3d 435
, 436 [2006]; Ramo v Serrano, 301 AD2d
640, 641 [2003]).

In opposition, the plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of
fact. They also failed to articulate
any nonspeculative basis to believe that discovery might yield evidence
warranting a different
(see Stagg v City of New York, 39 AD3d at 534).

Frydman v Fidelity Natl. Tit. Ins. Co., 68 AD3d 622 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

We have
considered plaintiffs' argument that the court improperly converted a
breach of contract action
into a declaratory judgment action and, without CPLR 3211 (c) notice,
converted a motion by
[*2]defendant to dismiss the complaint into
a motion for
summary judgment, and find it to be unavailing
(see CPLR 2002;
Shah v Shah
215 AD2d 287, 289 [1995]). This case contains no factual disputes, and
by submitting before the
Supreme Court every relevant piece of documentary evidence, along with
affidavits of
representatives of both parties discussing the application of such
evidence, the parties have
charted a course for summary judgment.
Accordingly, the court properly
entered a declaratory
judgment in favor of defendants.

Continue reading “The CPLR R. 3211 Roundup: It’s going to be loooong.”

CPLR § 311(a)(1); CPLR R. 5015(a)(1)(4)

CPLR § 311 Personal service upon a corporation or governmental subdivision


CPLR R. 5015 Relief from judgment or order

(a) On motion

CPLR R. 5015(a)(4) lack of jurisdiction to render the judgment or order

CPLR R. 5015(a)(1) excusable default

Aguilera v Pistilli Constr. & Dev. Corp., 2009 NY Slip Op 04844 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

The affidavit of the plaintiff's process server showed that on July
25, 2005, Pistilli was served with a summons and complaint by delivery
to its general agent at its office located in Astoria. Since no answer
was served by Pistilli, the plaintiff sought and obtained leave to
enter a default judgment against it.

Pistilli sought to vacate the default pursuant to, inter alia,
CPLR 5015(a)(4), claiming that service of process was improper under
CPLR 311(a)(1), and/or pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) on the ground that
its default was excusable.
By order dated October 2, 2007, the Supreme
Court, inter alia, directed a hearing to determine whether service of
process was effected. Contrary to Pistilli's position, the Supreme
Court properly ordered the hearing (see CLE Assoc., Inc. v Greene, 43 AD3d 382, 384; Skyline Agency v Ambrose Coppotelli, Inc., 117 AD2d 135, 139).

Pursuant to CPLR 311(a)(1), service upon a corporation shall be
made by delivering the summons to an officer, director, managing agent,
general agent, cashier, or assistant cashier, or to any other agent
authorized by appointment or by law to receive service. In addition,
service may be made upon someone whom the corporation cloaks with
(see Fashion Page v Zurich Ins. Co., 50 NY2d 265; Rokicki v 24 Hour Courier Serv., 282 AD2d 664, 665; Eastman Kodak Co. v Miller & Miller Consulting Actuaries, 195 AD2d 591; Seda v Armory Estates, 138 AD2d 362, 363-364).

The Supreme Court correctly determined that it acquired
jurisdiction over Pistilli through proper service of process. The
evidence adduced at the hearing established that Angela Rodriguez, to
whom the summons and complaint was delivered, was seated behind the
cashier/reception desk when the process server entered Pistilli's
office, that the process server, who had served Pistilli in the same
office and the same manner on at least three prior occasions, read the
summons and complaint out loud to Rodriguez, and that Rodriguez
informed the process server that she could accept service on behalf of
Pistilli. While Rodriguez claimed that she was not employed by
Pistilli, the record demonstrates that the company by which she was
employed shared offices with Pistilli and was owned by the same
principals. She also testified that service of process was regularly
made by delivering documents to the reception desk for the various
entities that operated out of the same office. Under these
circumstances, "the plaintiff's process server acted reasonably and
with due diligence" and it was reasonable for the process server to
believe that Rodriguez was authorized to accept service on behalf of
(Rokicki v 24 Hour Courier Serv., 282 AD2d at 664; see Fashion Page v Zurich Ins. Co., 50 NY2d 265; Eastman Kodak Co. v Miller & Miller Consulting Actuaries, 195 AD2d at 591; Seda v Armory Estates, 138
AD2d at 363-364). Furthermore, we decline to disturb any credibility
determination made by the hearing court, as its determination is amply
supported by the record (see Lattingtown Harbor Prop. Owners Assn., Inc. v Agostino, 34 AD3d 536, 538).

The Supreme Court also properly denied that branch of Pistilli's
renewed motion which was to vacate the default pursuant to CPLR
5015(a)(1). "A party seeking to vacate a default pursuant to CPLR 5015
(a)(1) must demonstrate a reasonable excuse for its delay in appearing
and answering the complaint and a meritorious defense to the action'" (New York & Presbyt. Hosp. v American Home Assur. Co., 28 AD3d 442, quoting Eugene Di Lorenzo, Inc. v A.C. Dutton Lbr. Co., 67 NY2d 138, 141; see CPLR 5015[a][1]; Koyenov v Twin-D Transp., Inc., 33 AD3d 967).
"The decision as to the setting aside of a default in answering is
generally left to the sound discretion of the Supreme Court, the
exercise of which will generally not be disturbed if there is support
in the record therefor" (Mjahdi v Maguire, 21 AD3d 1067, 1068, quoting MacMarty, Inc. v Scheller, 201 AD2d 706, 707).

Pistilli failed to offer a reasonable excuse for its failure to answer or appear in this action (see Eastman Kodak Co. v Miller & Miller Consulting Actuaries, 195 AD2d at 592). Contrary [*3]to
Pistilli's position, its default was not attributable to its insurance
carrier's assertion that it would represent it in this matter, as it
was served with the summons and complaint approximately five months
prior to any communication that it received from its insurance carrier
regarding representation
(cf. Perez v Linshar Realty Corp., 259
AD2d 532, 533). In view of the lack of a reasonable excuse, it is
unnecessary to consider whether Pistilli sufficiently demonstrated the
existence of a meritorious defense (see Mjahdi v Maguire, 21 AD3d at 1068; Krieger v Cohan, 18 AD3d 823).

The bold is mine.

CPLR § 311

CPLR § 311 Personal service upon a corporation or governmental subdivision

NYCTL 2004-A Trust v Faysal, 2009 NY Slip Op 03602 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

Plaintiffs failed to properly serve defendant, a corporation (see CPLR 311[a][1]; Business Corporation Law § 306[b]; Gouiran Family Trust v Gouiran, 40 AD3d 400,
401 [2007] ["CPLR 308(5) provides for special service upon natural
persons only"]). Accordingly, the judgment must be vacated and the
action dismissed (CPLR 5105[a][4]; Security Pac. Natl. Trust (N.Y.) v [*2]Chunassamy, 289 AD2d 151 [2001]; Resolution Trust Corp. v Beck, 243 AD2d 307 [1997]).