2004 McDonald Ave. Corp. v KGYM Holdings Group, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 06508 [2d Dept. 2018]
CPLR 317 applies where a defendant was served by means other than personal delivery, did not receive notice of the action, and has a potentially meritorious defense (see Booso v Tausik Bros. LLC., 148 AD3d 1108). Here, the defendants claimed they were never served. Therefore, they sought to vacate the default judgment against them pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(4) for lack of personal jurisdiction. On this point, the affidavit of service of a process server generally constitutes prima facie evidence of proper service (see US Bank N.A. v Ramos, 153 AD3d 882; Central Mtge. Co. v Ward, 127 AD3d 803). In this case, however, the process server submitted affidavits of exercising due diligence to attempt service, not affidavits of service.
If service is not made, the default judgment is a nullity (see Ariowitsch v Johnson, 114 AD2d 184). If a defendant is not served, “notice received by means other than those authorized by statute cannot serve to bring a defendant within the jurisdiction of the court” (Feinstein v Bergner, 48 NY2d 234, 241).
Sposito v Cutting, 2018 NY Slip Op 06782 [2d Dept. 2018]
“As a general rule, a defendant who seeks to vacate a default in appearing at a compliance conference is required to demonstrate both a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious defense” (Foley Inc. v Metropolis Superstructures, Inc., 130 AD3d 680, 680; see Polsky v Simon, 145 AD3d 693). Here, the defendant demonstrated a reasonable excuse for his failure to appear at the compliance conference on November 29, 2016, including the fact that he had been hospitalized from mid-September to late October 2016 for injuries sustained in a fall. In addition, notice of the conference was sent to the subject property and, although the defendant’s grandson resided there, it was never the defendant’s residence and the defenedant denied any knowledge of the November 29, 2016, conference. The defendant also demonstrated that he did not receive notice of the adjourned conference date of January 24, 2017, and the record is devoid of any evidence demonstrating that such notice was, in fact, given to him. Under such circumstances, the defendant’s nonappearance for the conference on January 24, 2017, could not constitute a default, as there was no failure to perform a legal duty (see Notaro v Performance Team, 161 AD3d 1093; Foley Inc. v Metropolis Superstructures, Inc., 130 AD3d at 681). “This is analogous to the situation of a defendant who has not been served with process and suffers a default judgment. In both situations, the default’ is a nullity along with the remedy the court renders in response” (Pelaez v Westchester Med. Ctr., 15 AD3d 375, 376). As the defendant’s default in appearing at the conference on January 24, 2017, is considered a nullity, vacatur of that default ” is required as a matter of law and due process, and no showing of a potentially meritorious defense is required'” (Notaro v Performance Team, 161 AD3d at 1095, quoting Bonik v Tarrabocchia, 78 AD3d 630, 632; see Matter of 542 A Realty, LLC, 118 AD3d 993, 994; Pavlou v Associates Food Stores, Inc., 96 AD3d 919). Therefore, the Supreme Court should have vacated the default and the notice of inquest as a matter of law and due process, and no showing of a potentially meritorious defense was required.
In addition, the Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to vacate the note of issue and certificate of readiness. Since the defendant moved for such relief more than 20 days after service of the note of issue and certificate of readiness, he had to show good cause for vacatur (see 22 NYCRR 202.21[e]). “To satisfy the requirement of good cause,’ the party seeking vacatur must demonstrate that unusual or unanticipated circumstances developed subsequent to the filing of the note of issue and certificate of readiness requiring additional pretrial proceedings to prevent substantial prejudice'” (Ferraro v North Babylon Union Free School Dist., 69 AD3d 559, 561, quoting White v Mazella-White, 60 AD3d 1047, 1049 [internal quotation marks omitted]). Here, for the reasons set forth above, particularly that the defendant’s failure to appear at the conference on January 24, 2017, did not constitute a default and warranted vacatur of the default and the notice of inquest as a matter of law and due process, the defendant established good cause for vacating the note of issue and certificate of readiness.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted the defendant’s motion pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to, in effect, vacate his default in appearing for two scheduled court conferences
Rosario v Naranjo, 2018 NY Slip Op 06780 [2d Dept. 2018]
A defendant seeking to vacate a default in appearing or answering the complaint pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) must demonstrate both a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious defense to the action (see Eugene Di Lorenzo, Inc. v A. C. Dutton Lbr. Co., 67 NY2d 138, 141; Goldfarb v Zhukov, 145 AD3d 757, 758; Li Fen Li v Cannon Co., Inc., 155 AD3d 858, 859). “Whether there is a reasonable excuse for a default is a discretionary, sui generis determination to be made by the court based on all relevant factors, including the extent of the delay, whether there has been prejudice to the opposing party, whether there has been willfulness, and the strong public policy in favor of resolving cases on the merits” (Harcztark v Drive Variety, Inc., 21 AD3d 876, 876-877; see Gomez v Gomez-Trimarchi, 137 AD3d 972, 973).
A.G. Parker, Inc. v 246 Rochester Partners, LLC, 2018 NY Slip Op 06711 [2d Dept. 2018]
A party is precluded from moving to vacate its default on grounds asserted in a prior motion to vacate the default that had been previously denied in an order from which it took no appeal as well as on grounds that were apparent at the time that the party made the prior motion but were not asserted therein (see U.S. Bank N.A. v Davis, 161 AD3d 808; LaSalle Natl. Bank Assn. v Odato, 126 AD3d 675, 676; Eastern Sav. Bank, FSB v Brown, 112 AD3d 668, 670; Lambert v Schreiber, 95 AD3d 1282, 1283; Bianco v Dougherty, 54 AD2d 681).
Itshaik v Singh, 2018 NY Slip Op 06888 [2d Dept. 2018]
“When a defendant seeking to vacate a default judgment raises a jurisdictional objection pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(4), the court is required to resolve the jurisdictional question before determining whether it is appropriate to grant a discretionary vacatur of the default under CPLR 5015(a)(1)” (Canelas v Flores, 112 AD3d 871, 871; see Community W. Bank, N.A. v Stephen, 127 AD3d 1008, 1009; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Miller, 121 AD3d 1044, 1045). A defendant moving to vacate a judgment entered upon his or her default in appearing or answering the complaint on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction “is not required to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious defense” (Prudence v Wright, 94 AD3d 1073, 1073; see Falvo v Cerra, 127 AD3d 919, 920). “[T]he failure to serve process in an action leaves the court without personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and all subsequent proceedings are thereby rendered null and void” (Krisilas v Mount Sinai Hosp., 63 AD3d 887, 889 [internal quotation marks omitted]).
Here, through his submissions, the defendant established that the Supreme Court did not acquire personal jurisdiction over him (see CPLR 5015[a]). The plaintiff contends that the defendant was estopped from challenging service upon him at the West End Avenue address pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law § 505(5), which requires that every motor vehicle licensee notify the Commissioner of the DMV of any change in residence within 10 days of the change and make a notation of such change of residence on the license. However, under the circumstances of this case, where the defendant did not provide the West End Avenue address at the time of the accident, where the record does not contain a DMV driver’s abstract for the defendant, and where the plaintiff identified the motor vehicle allegedly involved in this accident as belonging to a neighbor, the plaintiff’s contention is without merit (cf. Canelas v Flores, 112 AD3d at 871-872). Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s granting of the defendant’s motion to vacate the order dated July 11, 2016, and for leave to serve a late answer, based on lack of jurisdiction (see CPLR 5015[a]; Falvo v Cerra, 127 AD3d at 920).
In light of our determination of the jurisdictional issue, we need not reach the parties’ contentions regarding a discretionary vacatur pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1). Moreover, the parties’ contentions regarding CPLR 317, which were not raised before the Supreme Court, are not properly before this Court.