3124 Cell records

Dani v 551 W. 21st St. Owner LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 01456 [1st Dept. 2020]

The court providently exercised its discretion in denying defendants’ motion (see generally Veras Inv. Partners, LLC v Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, 52 AD3d 370, 373 [1st Dept 2008]). Defendants at this point have failed to satisfy the “threshold requirement” that the request was reasonably calculated to yield information that is “material and necessary” (Forman v Henkin, 30 NY3d 656, 661 [2018] [internal quotation marks omitted]). The affidavits submitted in support of the motion simply stated that plaintiff was holding his cell phone in his hand prior to the trip and fall accident, and that the cell phone was found near his body after the accident. As such, they were too speculative to warrant disclosure of plaintiff’s cell phone records (see Gough v Panorama Windows, Ltd., 133 AD3d 526 [1st Dept 2015]).

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).


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]).

Social Media

Vasquez-Santos v Mathew, 2019 NY Slip Op 00541 [1st Dept. 2019]

Private social media information can be discoverable to the extent it “contradicts or conflicts with [a] plaintiff’s alleged restrictions, disabilities, and losses, and other claims” (Patterson v Turner Const. Co., 88 AD3d 617, 618 [1st Dept 2011]). Here, plaintiff, who at one time was a semi-professional basketball player, claims that he has become disabled as the result of the automobile accident at issue, such that he can no longer play basketball. Although plaintiff testified that pictures depicting him playing basketball, which were posted on social media after the accident, were in games played before the accident, defendant is entitled to discovery to rebut such claims and defend against plaintiff’s claims of injury. That plaintiff did not take the pictures himself is of no import. He was “tagged,” thus allowing him access to them, and others were sent to his phone. Plaintiff’s response to prior court orders, which consisted of a HIPAA authorization refused by Facebook, some obviously immaterial postings, and a vague affidavit claiming to no longer have the photographs, did not comply with his discovery obligations. The access to plaintiff’s accounts and devices, however, is appropriately limited in time, i.e., only those items posted or sent after the accident, and in subject matter, i.e., those items discussing or showing defendant engaging in basketball or other similar physical activities (see Forman v Henkin, 30 NY3d 656, 665 [2018]; see also Abdur-Rahman v Pollari, 107 AD3d 452, 454 [1st Dept 2013]).


Harris v Kay, 2019 NY Slip Op 00044 [1st Dept. 2019]

The court did not abuse its discretion in striking the complaint, given plaintiff’s repeated, willful and contumacious refusals to provide discovery and to comply with court’s orders over an approximately eight-year period (see McHugh v City of New York, 150 AD3d 561, 562 [1st Dept 2017]; Fish & Richardson, P.C. v Schindler, 75 AD3d 219, 221-222 [1st Dept 2010]; see generally Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner Smith, Inc. v Global Strat Inc., 22 NY3d 877, 880 [2013]). Even if plaintiff’s response to defendants’ first set of interrogatories could be considered “timely” pursuant to the court’s August 28, 2013 order, despite that the interrogatories were served more than six years prior, the response certainly does not “evince[] a good-faith effort to address the requests meaningfully” (Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118, 123 [1999]).

Brown v Montefiore Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 00226 [1st Dept. 2019]

The court’s September 28, 2015 order was predicated on the motion and cross motion by the defendants, the underlying issues of which had already been fully resolved by the parties’ so-ordered stipulation, dated August 4, 2015, issued after a preliminary conference. At the time of the court’s September 28th conditional preclusion order, there was no motion pending, and no request for any relief from the defendants. Given the circumstances, the court should have granted plaintiff’s motion to vacate the judgment. However, this in no way condones plaintiff’s counsel’s clearly dilatory behavior, which, based on the pattern evinced by the record, was willful.

The bold is mine.

Hopkins v City of New York, 2019 NY Slip Op 00388 [1st Dept. 2019]

The parties suspended scheduling of the deposition of the City’s witness on January 14, 2014 when plaintiff withdrew its request for an EBT while other discovery disputes were resolved. Thus, the court orders prior to January 14, 2014 do not support the imposition of sanctions. We agree with Supreme Court that the City’s noncompliance with subsequent disclosure orders did not give rise to an inference of willful and contumacious conduct. Given that there does not appear to be an actual prejudice to plaintiff, the court was within its discretion to provide defendant with one additional opportunity to submit to depositions before striking its answer (Figueroa v City of New York, 129 AD3d 596, 597 [1st Dept 2015]).

We further note that at the time this motion was pending, the City offered to produce the witness at issue.

Williams v Suttle, 2019 NY Slip Op 00163 [2d Dept. 2019]

The drastic remedy of dismissing a complaint for a plaintiff’s failure to comply with court-ordered discovery is warranted where a party’s conduct is shown to be willful and contumacious (see Harris v City of New York, 117 AD3d 790Almonte v Pichardo, 105 AD3d 687, 688; Arpino v F.J.F. & Sons Elec. Co., Inc., 102 AD3d 201, 210). The willful and contumacious character of a party’s conduct can be inferred from either (1) the repeated failure to respond to demands or comply with court-ordered discovery, without a reasonable excuse for these failures, or (2) the failure to comply with court-ordered discovery over an extended period of time (see Candela v Kantor, 154 AD3d 733, 734; Pesce v Fernandez, 144 AD3d 653, 654; Gutman v Cabrera, 121 AD3d 1042, 1043; Arpino v F.J.F. & Sons Elec. Co., Inc., 102 AD3d at 210).

Here, the willful and contumacious character of the plaintiffs’ actions can be inferred from their repeated failures to comply with the defendant’s notices to appear for depositions and the deadlines set forth in the compliance conference orders over an extended period of time (see Wolf v Flowers, 122 AD3d 728, 729; Matone v Sycamore Realty Corp., 87 AD3d 1113, 1114). Furthermore, the plaintiffs failed to provide an adequate explanation for their repeated failures to comply with court-ordered discovery. While the plaintiffs established that the medical condition of Lawrey, who is a resident of the State of Georgia, required her to avoid travel and that her deposition could be conducted via live video conferencing (see Duncan v 605 Third Ave., LLC, 49 AD3d 494, 496), they did not provide any explanation for their failure to produce Williams, a resident of Westchester County, for a deposition.

Contrary to the plaintiffs’ contention, the defendant, who had first noticed depositions after serving her answer, had priority of depositions (see CPLR 3106[a]; Scalone v Phelps Mem. Hosp. Ctr., 184 AD2d 65, 76-77), and the filing of an amended complaint did not automatically stay discovery.

In any event, when the plaintiffs failed to appear for depositions within the time specified in the conditional order of dismissal, the conditional order became absolute (see Corex-SPA v Janel Group of N.Y., Inc., 156 AD3d at 602; Wei Hong Hu v Sadiqi, 83 AD3d 820, 821; Matter of Denton v City of Mount Vernon, 30 AD3d 600). To be relieved of the adverse impact of the conditional order directing dismissal of the complaint, the plaintiffs were required to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for their failure to appear for depositions and that their cause of action was potentially meritorious (see Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp., 16 NY3d 74, 80; Kirkland v Fayne, 78 AD3d 660, 661; Lerner v Ayervais, 16 AD3d 382Smith v Lefrak Org., 96 AD2d 859, affd 60 NY2d 828). The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for their failure to appear for depositions on or before February 29, 2016.

Overbroad Discovery

Doe v Bronx Preparatory Charter Sch., 2018 NY Slip Op 02898 [1st Dept. 2018]

The court providently exercised its discretion in declining to impose sanctions on plaintiffs or to compel further disclosure of the infant plaintiff's social media and cell phone history, since defendant failed to submit papers necessary to determine whether plaintiffs had not complied with a prior discovery order (see Nyadzi v Ki Chul Lee, 129 AD3d 645 [1st Dept 2015]; Ventura v Ozone Park Holding Corp., 84 AD3d 516, 517—518 [1st Dept 2011]). Further, there was no showing that plaintiffs wilfully failed to comply with any discovery order, since they provided access to the infant plaintiff's social media accounts and cell phone records for a period of two months before the date on which she was allegedly attacked on defendant's premises to the present, which was a reasonable period of time. Defendant's demands for access to social media accounts for five years prior to the incident, and to cell phone records for two years prior to the incident, were overbroad and not reasonably tailored to obtain discovery relevant to the issues in the case (see Forman v Henkin, 30 NY3d 656, 665 [2018]).

discovery and a retaining lien

Andrade v Perez, 2018 NY Slip Op 02126 [1st Dept 2018]

The motion court should have granted plaintiffs' motion to vacate the sua sponte order directing them to produce disclosure to defendants, as defendants' answer had been stricken by prior order of the court. Accordingly, defendants were not entitled to any further discovery, including discovery in preparation for an inquest (see Servais v Silk Nail Corp., 96 AD3d 546, 547 [1st Dept 2012]).

To the extent the motion court ordered plaintiffs to provide disclosure already submitted to defendants' former counsel, a different result is not warranted. Assuming defendants are unable to access their case file due to a retaining lien, the court improperly facilitated a "work around" of such lien (see Law Firm of Ravi Batra, P.C. v Rabinowich, 77 AD3d 532 [1st Dept 2010]; Warsop v Novik, 50 AD3d 608 [1st Dept 2008]; see also Artim v Artim, 109 AD2d 811, 812 [2d Dept 1985]). If there is no retaining lien, defendants should seek an order to compel former counsel's production of the discovery.

Court is not a weedwhacker

Sears Roebuck & Co. v Vornado Realty Trust, 2018 NY Slip Op 01421 [1st Dept 2018]

Nothing in the record suggests that defendants acted willfully, contumaciously, or in bad faith, warranting the drastic remedy of striking the answer (see Henderson—Jones v City of New York, 87 AD3d 498, 504 [1st Dept 2011]). Indeed, defendants produced responsive documents to requests that were the subject of plaintiff's motion, as shown by their affirmation in support of the first cross motion, of which this Court takes judicial notice (see Yuppie Puppy Pet Prods., Inc. v Street Smart Realty, LLC, 77 AD3d 197, 202 [1st Dept 2010]). Plaintiff is not entitled to confidential information about the interrelationship and ownership of defendants. Moreover, defendants submitted responses to plaintiff's 86 interrogatories, and, as the majority of their responses to the interrogatories in dispute were proper, the court was not obligated to "prune" the interrogatories for plaintiff (see Lerner v 300 W. 17th St. Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 232 AD2d 249, 250 [1st Dept 1996]).

Tax Returns. Deposition of non-party attorney.

Weingarten v Braun, 2018 NY Slip Op 01130 [1st Dept 2018]

While New York has a broad policy of discovery, favoring disclosure, disclosure of tax returns is disfavored because of their confidential and private nature, requiring the party seeking to compel production to make "a strong showing of necessity and demonstrate that the information contained in the returns is unavailable from other sources" (Williams v New York City Hous. Auth., 22 AD3d 315, 316 [1st Dept 2005] [internal quotation marks omitted]). Here, plaintiff failed to identify the particular information the tax returns of Braun will contain and its relevance to the claims made here. How Braun put the allegedly improperly obtained property to use, e.g., by allegedly claiming a loss on his personal taxes, is extraneous to whether the property was, in fact, improperly obtained. Similarly, plaintiff has failed to detail what information the nonparty attorney could offer in the proposed deposition that would be relevant to this claim (see Ortiz v Rivera, 193 AD2d 440 [1st Dept 1993]).

3001: Declaratory Judgment

CPLR § 3001 Declaratory Judgment

found an older post on it 

Big Four LLC v Bond St. Lofts Condominium, 2012 NY Slip Op 02421 1st Dept., 2012)

In August 2010, plaintiff moved for an order, pursuant to CPLR 3126(3), striking defendant's pleading, or, alternatively, to compel production of requested information under CPLR 3124.
By notice of cross motion, defendant moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, and for summary judgment on its counterclaim for legal fees. The court granted defendant's cross motion for summary judgment, dismissing the declaratory judgment claim on the ground that "no justiciable controversy has been presented." It dismissed the breach of contract claim on the ground that plaintiff asked for an "advisory opinion" from the board, and the board provided such opinion. The court also initially granted summary judgment to defendant on its counterclaim for legal fees, but later denied it when plaintiff moved for reargument. This appeal followed.

Supreme Court's dismissal of the first cause of action on the ground that a declaratory judgment would be merely "advisory" was an improvident exercise of its discretion. "[W]hen a party contemplates taking certain action a genuine dispute may arise before any breach or violation has occurred" (New York Pub. Interest Research Group v Carey, 42 NY2d 527, 530 [1977]). Defense counsel's November 23, 2009 letter and defendant's subsequent expression of its intent, constituted "past conduct" creating a genuine dispute for which a declaration would have had an "immediate and practical effect of influencing [the parties'] conduct" (id. at 531; see M & A Oasis v MTM Assoc., 307 AD2d 872 [2003]).

We, however, affirm the dismissal of the complaint's first cause of action for a declaratory judgment as to whether plaintiff may lease to nonparty 7-Eleven, on the ground that plaintiff conceded below that 7-Eleven is no longer interested in such a lease. Accordingly, the dispute is moot, and there is no longer a "justiciable controversy" within the meaning of CPLR 3001 (see Matter of Ideal Mut. Ins. Co., 174 AD2d 420 [1991]). Furthermore, there is no basis to find that the exception for cases where the issue presented "is likely to recur, typically evades review, and raises a substantial and novel question" is applicable (Zuckerman v Goldstein, 78 AD3d 412 [2010]) lv denied 17 NY3d 779 [2011]).

Similarly, the second cause of action – asserting a bad faith breach of contract by defendant – was properly dismissed. The defendant condominium established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that the actions it took by objecting to the proposed intended use of the commercial space by 7-Eleven were "taken in good faith and in the exercise of honest judgment in the lawful and legitimate furtherance of corporate purposes" (Matter of Levandusky v One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp., 75 NY2d 530, 537—538 [1990] [internal quotations omitted]). Aside from some conclusory, unsupported and self-serving conjecture, plaintiff has failed to raise any triable issues regarding defendant's alleged bad faith in objecting to 7-Eleven's use of the commercial space.

BLT Steak, LLC v 57th St. Dorchester, Inc.,2012 NY Slip Op 02159 (1st Dept., 2012)

Defendant's withdrawal of the notice to cure rendered moot that branch of plaintiff's motion for declaratory relief as to the validity of the notice to cure, as there was no longer any controversy with respect to the notice (see CPLR 3001). Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief was also rendered moot by the withdrawal of the notice, because there was no longer any threat that plaintiff's leasehold would be terminated as a result of its alleged breach of the lease (see Mannis v Jillandrea Realty Co., 94 AD2d 676, 677 [1983]).

Plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment declaring that it did not breach the parties' lease; the conflicting expert affidavits have raised issues of fact with respect to the damage to the steel and slab underlying plaintiff's kitchen. Contrary to plaintiff's contention, defendant's withdrawal of the notice to cure does not constitute an "adjudication on the merits," as it is undisputed that defendant never filed an action based on the allegations in the notice in a court of any state or the United States (CPLR 3217[c]).

The court properly dismissed plaintiff's third cause of action, for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and/or breach of contract. The "American rule" precludes plaintiff from recovering its attorney's fees as damages in the event it prevails on its cause of action, and plaintiff has failed to show that any exception is applicable (see Gotham Partners, L.P. v High Riv. Ltd. Partnership, 76 AD3d 203, 204 [2010], lv denied 17 NY3d 713 [2011]). Moreover, plaintiff has failed to plead any damages other than attorney's fees (see Gordon v Dino De Laurentiis Corp., 141 AD2d 435, 436 [1988]).