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]).

Discovery

Moore v Federated Dept. Stores, Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 03112 (1st Dept., 2012)

Any right of direct appeal from the intermediate orders terminated with entry of the final judgment dismissing this wrongful termination action for failure to prosecute (see Matter of Aho, 39 NY2d 241, 248 [1976]). Plaintiff did not appeal from the final judgment, and there is no basis for deeming his appeals from the intermediate orders as having been taken from the subsequent judgment (cf. CPLR 5501[c]; 5520[c]).

Were we to consider plaintiff's arguments on appeal, we would nonetheless find them unavailing. The court properly denied plaintiff's motions to strike and compel, as there was no basis in the record to find defendants' conduct in the discovery process to be willful, contumacious, or in bad faith (see Ayala v Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, 92 AD3d 542 [2012]). With respect to the court's imposition of sanctions upon plaintiff's counsel, counsel did not appeal from the order or the subsequent judgment awarding sanctions, and plaintiff was not aggrieved by the award and lacks standing to challenge it (see generally CPLR 5511[a]; Matter of Kyle v Lebovits, 58 AD3d 521 [2009], lv dismissed in part and denied in part 13 NY3d 765 [2009], cert denied __ US __ , 130 S Ct 1524 [2010]). Plaintiff was also not aggrieved by the grant of defendant Macy's motion to compel discovery, as plaintiff did not oppose the motion (see Darras v Romans, 85 AD3d 710, 711 [2011]). To the extent plaintiff challenges the denial [*2]of his motion for a stay of enforcement of the order entered July 16, 2010 pending his appeal from the order, his argument is moot (see Diane v Ricale Taxi, Inc., 26 AD3d 232, 232 [2006]).

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v Global Strat Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 02598 (1st Dept., 2012)

In granting the motion to dismiss as against Albert Nasser for lack of personal jurisdiction, Supreme Court stated that it was vacating the judgment as against him. However, the judgment in the record on appeal names Albert Nasser as a defendant from whom plaintiffs have recovery, and it is that judgment that we affirm. We find that plaintiffs made a prima facie showing that Albert is subject to jurisdiction in New York through evidence that in the first three months of 2008, he actively traded in the New York-based Merrill Lynch accounts of Inversiones, his personal holding company, and that he participated by telephone in a March 2008 meeting with Merrill Lynch in New York concerning the trading activities at issue in this case (see Kreutter v McFadden Oil Corp., 71 NY2d 460, 467 [1988]; compare OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. v Newmont Min. Corp., 82 AD3d 554, 555 [2011] [no evidence that defendant exercised control over the corporation that purchased insurance policies issued by insurers with principal places of business in New York]).

The Nassers' repeated failure to comply with discovery deadlines or offer a reasonable excuse for their noncompliance with discovery requests, as well as their counsel's [*2]misrepresentations in open court as to the cause of one of their violations, give rise to an inference of willful and contumacious conduct warranting the entry of judgment against them (see Turk Eximbank-Export Credit Bank of Turkey v Bicakcioglu, 81 AD3d 494 [2011]). The Nassers were appropriately warned that judgment would be entered against them if their discovery responses were found by the Special Referee to be noncompliant with plaintiffs' requests (see id.; cf. Corner Realty 30/7 v Bernstein Mgt. Corp., 249 AD2d 191, 194 [1998]).

Zimbardi v City of New York, 2012 NY Slip Op 02574 (1st Dept., 2012)

Contrary to plaintiff's contention, the City produced documents relevant to its knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition and, in any event, it was plaintiff's burden to show that the City had prior written notice of the alleged defect, which she failed to do. Nor did she move for sanctions based on the City's alleged wilful failure to produce documents (see CPLR 3126).

Zinger v Service Ctr. of N.Y., Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 02591 (1st Dept., 2012)

Plaintiff's requests for vehicular insurance policies and governmental filings were irrelevant to his alter-ego claim against the individually named defendant. However, the requests concerning the corporate defendant's bank accounts and credit cards seek documents and information of the type that would yield evidence of misuse of the corporate form (see e.g. Horizon Inc. v Wolkowicki, 55 AD3d 337 [2008]). Accordingly, we find that such records and information, to the extent limited to the period of plaintiff's employment plus one year, are "material and necessary" for the prosecution of the action (CPLR 3101[a]).

Carnegie Assoc. Ltd. v Miller, 2012 NY Slip Op 02422 (1st Dept., 2012) (note the dissent)

The motion court erred in striking the complaint and reply to defendants' counterclaims since neither CPLR § 3126 nor 22 NYCRR 202.26(e) authorizes this sanction under the circumstances. While CPLR § 3126 authorizes the striking of a party's pleadings, this extreme sanction is only authorized when a party "refuses to obey an order for disclosure or willfully refuses to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosed" (CPLR § 3126) (emphasis added). Thus, by its express terms the sanction prescribed by CPLR § 3126 is warranted only upon a party's failure to comply with discovery requests or court orders mandating disclosure (Bako v V.T. Trucking Co., 143 AD2d 561, 561 [1988]; Henry Rosenfeld, Inc. v Bower & Gardner, 161 AD2d 374, 374-375 [1990] [dismissal of a party's pleading appropriate when a party "disobeys a court order and by his conduct frustrates the disclosure scheme provided by the CPLR"]; Bassett v Bando Sangsa Co., 103 AD2d 728, 728 [1984]). Here, where plaintiff had already been sanctioned for its failure to provide discovery and where defendants premised the instant motion to strike plaintiff's pleadings primarily on plaintiff's [*2]failure to proceed with court-ordered mediation, CPLR § 3126 simply does not apply.

Similarly, despite plaintiff's conceded failure to proceed with the court-ordered mediation, it was also error to strike its pleadings pursuant to 22 NYCRR 202.26(e). While 22 NYCRR 202.26 authorizes the trial court to schedule pretrial conferences, a mediation, pursuant to Rule 3 of the Rules of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court (22 NYCRR 202.70[g]), is not a pretrial conference. More importantly, even if this rule did apply, the only sanction authorized by 22 NYCRR 202.26(e) for a party's failure to appear at a pretrial conference is "a default under CPLR § 3404," which initially only authorizes the striking of the case from the court's trial calendar. Accordingly, here, striking plaintiff's pleadings, which by operation of law resulted in dismissal of this action is not warranted pursuant to 22 NYCRR 202.26(e).

While we agree with the dissent that plaintiff's conduct was egregious, we nevertheless find that the sanction imposed by the motion court, namely, dismissal of plaintiff's complaint and the striking of its reply to defendant's counterclaims was simply not permitted. We further note that, here, plaintiff was in fact penalized for its conduct inasmuch as the motion court granted defendants' motion for costs and fees incurred as a result of plaintiff's failure to proceed to mediation.

In support of its argument that the motion court's order was appropriate, the dissent partly relies on Rule 8(h) of the Commercial Division, Supreme Court, New York County, Rules of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. However, the dissent alone raises this argument, one which has never been advanced by any of the parties, either on appeal or below. Therefore, we should not consider it (Misicki v Caradonna, 12 NY3d 511, 519 [2009] ["We are not in the business of blindsiding litigants, who expect us to decide their appeals on rationales advanced by the parties, not arguments their adversaries never made"]). Moreover, contrary to the dissent's remaining position, 22 NYCRR 202.70(g) Rule 12 does not avail plaintiff since like 22 NYCRR 202.26(e), the dismissal promulgated by Rule 12, which is made more clear by its reference to 22 NYCRR 202.27, is for the failure to appear at a conference and not for the failure to proceed to mediation.

Filatava v Rome Realty Group LLC, 2012 NY Slip Op 02261 (1st Dept., 2012)

Defendant appeals from the striking of its answer as a discovery sanction pursuant to CPLR 3126. It is undisputed that defendant violated three express orders to produce documents responsive to plaintiffs' requests. More egregiously, defendant knew it had no business records of the subject premises, as it failed to retain any records when it sold the premises two months after the instant complaint was filed. Yet, it concealed this information from the court and plaintiffs for some two years. As such, there was ample evidence to support the IAS court's [*2]finding that defendant had wilfully delayed and failed to fulfill its obligations in discovery (cf. Banner v New York City Hous. Auth., 73 AD3d 502, 503 [2010]).

Ellis v Park, 2012 NY Slip Op 01864 (1st Dept., 2012)

Dismissal of the complaint was an improvident exercise of discretion, since defendants failed to "show[] conclusively that [plaintiff's] failure to disclose was wilful, contumacious or in bad faith" (Christian v City of New York, 269 AD2d 135, 137 [2000]; see also Mateo v T & H Enters., 60 AD3d 411 [2009]). Contrary to the motion court's findings, the record does not support the view that plaintiff repeatedly refused to comply with orders regarding disclosure. The argument that plaintiff responded only to defendant Prudential's demand for a bill of particulars and not the demand of defendants Parks, is belied by plaintiff's responses to the demand.

Moreover, the November 16, 2009 preliminary conference order directed plaintiff to be deposed on January 6, 2010. However, during a subsequent telephone conference with the court, plaintiff and the Parks agreed to postpone the deposition to a mutually convenient date. Thus, the fact that plaintiff was not deposed by January 6, 2010 does not constitute disobedience of a court order. Plaintiff appeared and was deposed on two dates set by the court and although it is [*2]true that on the third day of her deposition she said she could not stay beyond 11:45 A.M., she provided a reasonable explanation for having to leave and her counsel was actually engaged later that day.

Rosario v Vasquez, 2012 NY Slip Op 01874 (1st Dept., 2012)

Contrary to the motion court's finding, depositions are not needed, since Guzman-Sosa had personal knowledge of the facts (see Avant, 74 AD3d at 534).

Accent Collections, Inc. v Cappelli Enters., Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 03121 (2nd Dept., 2012)

" The Supreme Court has broad discretion in the supervision of discovery, and its determinations should not be disturbed on appeal unless improvidently made'" (Foster v Herbert Slepoy Corp., 74 AD3d 1139, 1140, quoting Casabona v Huntington Union Free School Dist., 29 AD3d 723, 723). Here, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was to vacate the trial readiness order based upon its determination that, pursuant to a compliance conference order, the additional discovery sought by the plaintiff was waived (see Provident Life & Cas. Ins. Co. v Brittenham, 284 AD2d 518; cf. Summers v Kardex Sys., 210 AD2d 216; see generally Foster v Herbert Slepoy Corp., 74 AD3d at 1140; Casabona v Huntington Union Free School Dist., 29 AD3d at 723).

Crawford v Village of Millbrook, 2012 NY Slip Op 03128 (2nd Dept., 2012)

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the plaintiff's motion on the eve of trial to admit the testimony of a newly identified witness. The plaintiff failed to disclose this witness until six years after commencing the action, and failed to provide a reasonable explanation for his delay in disclosing the identity of the witness (see CPLR 3101; Spectrum Sys. Intl. Corp. v Chemical Bank, 78 NY2d 371, 376; Mayorga v Jocarl & Ron Co., 41 AD3d 132, 134; Ortega v New York City Tr. Auth., 262 AD2d 470).

Colandrea v Choku, 2012 NY Slip Op 03127 (2nd Dept., 2012)

In opposition, the defendants failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the plaintiff was at fault in the happening of the accident (see Vainer v DiSalvo, 79 AD3d at 1024; Yelder v Walters, 64 AD3d 762, 764). To the extent the defendants suggest the possibility that the accident might have been avoided, or that the plaintiff may have been speeding, such assertions, upon this record, are completely speculative and inadequate to withstand summary judgment (see Socci v Levy, 90 AD3d 1020; Loch v Garber, 69 AD3d at 816; Berner v Koegel, 31 AD3d 591, 592; Jacino v Sugerman, 10 AD3d 593, 595). Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

The Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion, however, in denying those branches of the defendants' timely motion which were to (a) vacate the note of issue and certificate of readiness for trial, (b) strike the matter from the trial calendar, and (c) direct the plaintiff to appear for a deposition and submit to an independent physical examination. "While discovery determinations rest within the sound discretion of the trial court, the Appellate Division is vested with a corresponding power to substitute its own discretion for that of the trial court, even in the absence of abuse" (Andon v 302-304 Mott St. Assoc., 94 NY2d 740, 745). Here, although the defendants may have waived their right to conduct a deposition and independent physical examination of the plaintiff by their failure to schedule and complete the deposition and examination by the dates set forth in a preliminary conference order, the circumstances of this case warranted relieving the defendants of the waiver, particularly since there was no prejudice to the plaintiff (see Barbosa v Capolarello, 52 AD3d 629, 629; High Point of Hartsdale I Condominium v AOI Constr., Inc., 31 AD3d 711; Venia v 18-05 215th St. Owners, 288 AD2d 463; Poltorak v Blyakham, 225 AD2d 600). Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted those branches of the defendants' motion which were to (a) vacate the note of issue and certificate of readiness for trial, (b) strike the matter from the trial calendar, and (c) direct the plaintiff to appear for a deposition and submit to an independent physical examination.

33

Discovery

Denver Employees Retirement Plan v JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2012 NY Slip Op 00639 (1st Dept., 2012)

The motion court providently exercised its discretion by refusing to compel plaintiff to respond to an untimely document request for "All Documents Concerning investments by or for the benefit of [plaintiff], direct or indirect, in securities issued by Lehman" (see Kingsgate Assoc. v Advest, Inc., 208 AD2d 356, 357 [1994]). The circumstances presented herein do not warrant exercise of our own independent discretion to reverse this order.

Likewise, we find no reason to disturb the exercise of the court's "broad discretion" in denying defendant's deposition notice (see Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v American Home Assurance Co., 23 AD3d 190, 190 [2007]). This notice called for the production of "a person designated by [plaintiff] regarding any and all investments in securities issued or guaranteed by Lehman . . . that were purchased, held, and/or sold by or for the benefit of [plaintiff] from January 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008, excluding investments made through the JPMorgan Securities Lending Program," i.e., the program at issue in this litigation. Defendant essentially attempted to obtain the same material that the court previously found to be untimely and irrelevant. Plaintiff's litigation concerns investments with defendant in Lehman medium term notes (MTNs). Defendant seeks information about plaintiff's investments in other Lehman securities that plaintiff made at different times and that are unrelated to the MTNs. The court correctly determined that investment decisions concerning other, unrelated investments [*2]purchased for different accounts that have different investment goals, are not relevant to the account in question (cf. Matter of Clark, 257 NY 132, 135 [1931]).

VOOM HD Holdings LLC v EchoStar Satellite L.L.C., 2012 NY Slip Op 00658 (1st Dept., 2012)

This case requires us to determine the scope of a party's duties in the electronic discovery context, and the appropriate sanction for failure to preserve electronically stored information (ESI). We hold that in deciding these questions, the motion court properly invoked the standard for preservation set forth in Zubulake v UBS Warburg LLC (220 FRD 212 [SD NY 2003]; Pension Comm. of the Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v Banc of Am. Sec., LLC., 685 F Supp 2d 456, 473 [SD NY 2010]), which has been widely adopted by federal and state courts. In Zubulake, the federal district court stated, "Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a litigation hold' to ensure the preservation of relevant documents" (Zubulake, 220 FRD at 218). The Zubulake standard is harmonious with New York precedent in the traditional discovery context, and provides li tigants with sufficient certainty as to the nature of their obligations in the electronic discovery context and when those obligations are triggered.

W & W Glass Sys., Inc. v Admiral Ins. Co., 2012 NY Slip Op 00307 (1st Dept., 2012)

Defendants' argument that further discovery is warranted and that the motion is therefore premature, is unavailing. Defendants participated in lengthy discovery in the underlying action. Admiral had all of the relevant policies of insurance and had ample opportunity to gather evidence.

No proof was offered demonstrating that wrap-up coverage may have been in effect, and Admiral's bare affirmation raising speculative defenses is insufficient to defeat a prima facie showing of entitlement to summary judgment (see Gilbert Frank Corp. v Federal Ins. Co., 70 NY2d 966 [1988]). Defendants cannot avoid summary judgment based on speculation that further discovery may uncover something.

 

Compelled

New Line Stone Co., Inc. v BCRE Servs. LLC, 2011 NY Slip Op 08308 (1st Dept., 2011)

The motion court providently exercised its discretion in requiring defendants to provide more detailed responses to plaintiff's interrogatories 4 through 12, which sought the facts underlying defendants' seven affirmative defenses and three counterclaims. Most of defendants' responses provided general statement of facts, and some responses provided no facts at all. Moreover, defendants failed to meet their burden to establish that the information sought was privileged (see JP Foodservice Distribs. v Sorrento, Inc., 305 AD2d 266 [2003]). However, defendants are not required to respond to interrogatory number 13, since it is repetitive.

Disclosure, lots of it

CPLR § 3126 Penalties for refusal to comply with order or to disclose

CPLR § 4504. Physician, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor and nurse

CPLR R. 3120 Discovery and production of documents and things for inspection, testing, copying or photographing

CPLR § 3101 Scope of disclosure

CPLR R. 3124 Failure to disclose; motion to compel disclosure

22 NYCRR 202.21 Note of issue and certificate of readiness

Congel v Malfitano, 2011 NY Slip Op 04406 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

Contrary to the defendant's contentions, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying that branch of his cross motion which was for leave to amend his answer to assert counterclaims pursuant to Partnership Law §§ 73 and 74. Although leave to amend should be freely given in the absence of prejudice or surprise to the opposing party (see CPLR 3025[b]), the motion should be denied where the proposed amendment is palpably insufficient or patently devoid of merit (see Brooks v Robinson, 56 AD3d 406, 407; Scofield v DeGroodt, 54 AD3d 1017, 1018; Lucido v Mancuso, 49 AD3d 220, 227). Here, the defendant's proposed amended counterclaims were patently devoid of merit.

CPLR 3101(a) provides for, inter alia, "full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action." Although the phrase "material and necessary" must be "interpreted liberally" in favor of disclosure so long as the information sought meets the test of "usefulness and reason" (Allen v Crowell-Collier Publ. Co., 21 NY2d 403, 406; see Scalone v Phelps Mem. Hosp. Ctr., 184 AD2d 65, 69-70), a party does not have the right to uncontrolled and unfettered disclosure (see Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc. v Sharf, 59 AD3d 408, 410; Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531, 531). Further, the Supreme Court has broad discretion over the supervision of disclosure, and its determination will not be disturbed absent an improvident exercise of discretion (see Spodek v Neiss, 70 AD3d 810, 810; Reilly Green Mtn. Platform Tennis v Cortese, 59 AD3d 694, 695; Cabellero v City of New York, 48 AD3d 727, 728).

On the defendant's prior appeal, this Court remitted the matter to the Supreme Court, Dutchess County, for, inter alia, further proceedings on the issue of damages caused to the plaintiffs by the defendant's wrongful dissolution of the Poughkeepsie Galleria Company Partnership, as well as a determination of the value of the defendant's interest in that partnership at the time of the wrongful dissolution (see Congel v Malfitano, 61 AD3d 810; Partnership Law § 69[2][c][II]). Given that the remaining issues to be resolved in this matter are narrow (see Partnership Law § 69[2][c][II]), the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in limiting the scope of discovery and providing for an expedited discovery schedule.

Thompson v Dallas BBQ, 2011 NY Slip Op 04451 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

Pursuant to CPLR 3126, "[a] court may strike an answer as a sanction if a defendant refuses to obey an order for disclosure or willfully fails to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosed'" (Mazza v Seneca, 72 AD3d 754, 754, quoting CPLR 3126). The nature and degree of the penalty to be imposed pursuant to CPLR 3126 lies within the sound discretion of the trial court (see CPLR 3126[3]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118, 122-123; Bernal v Singh, 72 AD3d 716). The drastic remedy of striking a pleading is not appropriate absent a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery demands is willful and contumacious (see CPLR 3126[3]; Kyung Soo Kim v Goldmine Realty, Inc., 73 AD3d 709; Moray v City of Yonkers, 72 AD3d 766).

Here, there was no such clear showing that the defendants' conduct was willful and contumacious (see Dank v Sears Holding Mgt. Corp., 69 AD3d 557). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the plaintiff's motion to strike the defendants' answer.

Gille v Long Beach City School Dist., 2011 NY Slip Op 04202 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

While it is unclear whether the school district negligently lost or intentionally destroyed key evidence (see Denoyelles v Gallagher, 40 AD3d 1027; Baglio v St. John's Queens Hosp., 303 AD2d 341, 342-343), it is uncontested that the school district is unable to locate the window shade, the very instrumentality giving rise to the infant plaintiff's injuries. However, because the determination of spoliation sanctions is within the broad discretion of the trial court (see Iamiceli v General Motors Corp., 51 AD3d 635; Barnes v Paulin, 52 AD3d 754; Dennis v City of New York, 18 AD3d 599), the matter must be remitted to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, for its determination of the cross motion on the merits (see American Fed. of School Adm'rs, AFL-CIO v Council of Adm'rs & Supervisors, 266 AD2d 417, 418; Polera Bldg. Corp. v New York School Constr. Auth., 262 AD2d 295).

Lopez v Retail Prop. Trust, 2011 NY Slip Op 04008 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

The Supreme Court, in its discretion, may grant permission to conduct additional discovery after the filing of a note of issue and certificate of readiness where the moving party demonstrates that "unusual or unanticipated circumstances" developed subsequent to the filing requiring additional pretrial proceedings to prevent substantial prejudice (22 NYCRR 202.21[d]; see Wigand v Modlin, 82 AD3d 1213; Owen v Lester, 79 AD3d 992; Audiovox Corp. v Benyamini, 265 AD2d 135, 140). The compliance conference order dated February 17, 2010, warning the plaintiff that failure to file a note of issue within 90 days would result in dismissal of the action, did not mandate that all discovery be complete prior to the filing of the note of issue. Even though the defendant Kone, Inc. (hereinafter the defendant), was impeding discovery, the plaintiff filed a conditional note of issue as directed by the compliance conference order. It was not until after the filing of the conditional note of issue that the defendant moved for a protective order with respect to the plaintiff's discovery requests, on the ground that they were untimely. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff's cross motion to compel the defendant to comply with outstanding discovery should have been granted (see Karakostas v Avis Rent A Car Sys., 306 AD2d 381, 382; Schmitt v Carl Meyer's Hof, Inc., 86 AD2d 985).

Olkovetsy v Friedwald Ctr. for Rehabilitation & Nursing, LLC, 2011 NY Slip Op 04015 (App. Div. 2nd 2011)

Pursuant to CPLR 4504(a), information obtained by, among others, professional nursing personnel in attending to a patient in a professional capacity and "which [is] necessary to enable him [or her] to act in that capacity" is privileged. As a general rule, disclosure of the name and address of a nonparty patient who may have been a witness to an alleged act of negligence or malpractice does not violate the patient's privilege of confidentiality of treatment (see Rabinowitz v St. John's Episcopal Hosp., 24 AD3d 530; Hirsch v Catholic Med. Ctr. of Brooklyn & Queens, 91 AD2d 1033, 1034; see also Matter of Grand Jury Investigation in N.Y. County, 98 NY2d 525, 530-531), provided that the requesting party "is not seeking to identify the patient by reference to the medical treatment he [or she] received" (Matter of Seymour, 288 AD2d 894, 894).

Contrary to the defendants' contention, in light of the broad range of services provided in a nursing home, the information requested by the plaintiff did not fall within the ambit of CPLR 4504(a) (see generally Rabinowitz v St. John's Episcopal Hosp., 24 AD3d 530; cf. Gunn v Sound Shore Med. Ctr. of Westchester, 5 AD3d 435, 437). Additionally, the information demanded by the plaintiff was necessary to the prosecution of the action and, as limited by the Supreme Court to the period from January 1, 2005, through February 28, 2005, and to only the residents of the decedent's particular unit of residency, the demand was not overly broad or unduly burdensome (see Grant v PALJR, LLC, 64 AD3d 750, 751).

Trueforge Global Mach. Corp. v Viraj Group., 2011 NY Slip Op 04040 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

The Supreme Court properly denied the defendants' cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint pursuant to General Obligations Law § 5-701(a)(10). "[I]n a contract action[,] a memorandum sufficient to meet the requirements of the Statute of Frauds must contain expressly or by reasonable implication all the material terms of the agreement, including the rate of compensation if there has been agreement on that matter" (Morris Cohon & Co. v Russell, 23 NY2d 569, 575; see Intercontinental Planning v Daystrom, Inc., 24 NY2d 372, 378-379). "If an agreement is not reasonably certain in its material terms, there can be no legally enforceable contract" (Cobble Hill Nursing Home v Henry & Warren Corp., 74 NY2d 475, 482, cert denied 498 US 816; see Joseph Martin, Jr., Delicatessen v Schumacher, 52 NY2d 105, 109). Thus, "a mere agreement to agree, in which a material term is left for future negotiations, is unenforceable" (Joseph Martin, Jr., Delicatessen v Schumacher, 52 NY2d at 109; see 2004 McDonald Ave. Realty, LLC v 2004 McDonald Ave. Corp., 50 AD3d 1021; Andor Group v Benninghoff, 219 AD2d 573). Further, while General Obligations Law § 5-701(a)(10) applies to contracts implied in law to pay reasonable compensation (see Snyder v Bronfman, 13 NY3d 504), in an action to recover reasonable compensation, "a sufficient memorandum need only evidence the fact of plaintiff's employment by defendant to render the alleged services" (Morris Cohon & Co. v Russell, 23 NY2d at 575-576)."The obligation of the defendant to pay reasonable compensation for the services is then implied" (id. at 576). Contrary to the defendants' contention, they failed to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law based on the statute of frauds, as certain e-mail correspondence (see General Obligations Law § 5-701[b][4]; Newmark & Co. Real Estate Inc. v 2615 E. 17 St. Realty LLC, 80 AD3d 476, 477; see also Intercontinental Planning v Daystrom, Inc., 24 NY2d at 379; Aloisi v Coin Phones, 157 AD2d 688) was sufficient to set forth an objective standard for determining the compensation to be paid to the plaintiff as a finder's fee, since it was tied to an extrinsic event, i.e., it was expressed as a percentage of the price paid by the defendants for the located acquisition opportunity, thus rendering the terms definite and enforceable (see Tonkery v Martina, 78 NY2d 893; Novello v 215 Rockaway, LLC, 70 AD3d 909; Edge Mgt. Corp. v Crossborder Exch. Corp., 304 AD2d 422; cf. MP Innovations, Inc. v Atlantic Horizon Intl., Inc., 72 AD3d 571).

Furthermore, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in granting, upon reargument, the plaintiff's motion to compel a deposition of nonparty Neeraj Kochhar. "[A] corporation has the right in the first instance to determine which of its representatives will appear for an examination before trial" (Barone v Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 260 AD2d 417, 417-418; see Aronson v Im, 81 AD3d 577, 577; Nunez v Chase Manhattan Bank, 71 AD3d 967; Mercado v Alexander, 227 AD2d 391). The moving party that is seeking additional depositions has the burden of demonstrating "(1) that the representatives already deposed had insufficient knowledge, or were otherwise inadequate, and (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the persons sought for depositions possess information which is material and necessary to the prosecution of the case" (Zollner v City of New York, 204 AD2d 626, 627; see Thristino v County of Suffolk, 78 AD3d 927; Spohn-Konen v Town of Brookhaven, 74 AD3d 1049; Seattle Pac. Indus., Inc. v Golden Val. Realty Assoc., 54 AD3d 930, 932-933; Nazario v City of New York, 27 AD3d 439; Barone v Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 260 AD2d at 418). Here, the plaintiff satisfied this burden by demonstrating that the representative produced by the defendants for deposition did not have sufficient knowledge of the events giving rise to the complaint (see Nunez v Chase Manhattan Bank, 71 AD3d 967), and that there was a substantial likelihood that Neeraj Kochhar possessed information which was material and necessary to the issue of whether the plaintiff was entitled to payment of a finder's fee (see Nazario v City of New York, 27 AD3d 439; cf. Seattle Pac. Indus., Inc. v Golden Val. Realty Assoc., 54 AD3d at 932-933).

Waiver

Fernandez v City of New York, 2011 NY Slip Op 04111 (App. Div., 1st 2011)

Plaintiff has waived her claim that defendants' failure to produce "legible" photographs of the underside of the desk after the accident required an adverse inference that such photographs would have provided notice. The record shows that she was aware of the photographs yet filed a note of issue certifying that discovery was complete (see Escourse v City of New York, 27 AD3d 319 [2006]). In any event, the photographs would not have been probative as to notice, since the track was not visible until after the drawer fell.

Bad Discovery Demands = Nuke, not prune

CPLR R. 3124

CPLR § 3126

Board of Mgrs. of the Park Regent Condominium v Park Regent Assoc.2010 NY Slip Op 08055 (App. Div., 2nd 2010)

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the appellant's motion, inter alia, pursuant to CPLR 3124 and 3126 to compel certain discovery or, in the alternative, to preclude the plaintiff from adducing certain evidence at trial, and granting the plaintiff's cross motion for a protective order vacating his demand for a bill of particulars and inspection. "Where, as here, discovery demands are palpably improper in that they are overbroad, lack specificity, or seek irrelevant or confidential information, the appropriate remedy is to vacate the entire demand rather than to prune it" (Bell v Cobble Hill Health Ctr., Inc., 22 AD3d 620, 620; see Astudillo v St. Francis-Beacon Extended Care Facility, Inc., 12 AD3d 469, 470; Latture v Smith, 304 AD2d 534, 536). "[I]t is not for the courts to correct a palpably bad" discovery demand (Lopez v Huntington Autohaus, 150 AD2d 351, 352).