CPLR § 3126 Penalties for refusal to comply with order or to disclose
CPLR R. 3124 Failure to disclose; motion to compel disclosure
Holland v W.M. Realty Mgt., Inc., 2009 NY Slip Op 05844 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)
Under the common-law doctrine of spoliation, when a party
negligently loses or intentionally destroys key evidence, the
responsible party may be sanctioned under CPLR 3126 (see Ingoglia v Barnes & Noble Coll. Booksellers, Inc., 48 AD3d 636, 637; Baglio v St. John's Queens Hosp., 303
AD2d 341, 342). However, striking a pleading as a sanction for
spoliation is appropriate only where the missing evidence deprives the
moving party of the ability to establish his or her claim or defense (see Enstrom v Garden Place Hotel, 27 AD3d 1084, 1086; Iannucci v Rose, 8 AD3d 437, 438; Baglio v St. John's Queens Hosp., 303 AD2d at 342).
The Supreme Court has broad discretion in determining what, if any, sanction should be imposed for the spoliation of evidence (see Iannucci v Rose, 8 AD3d at 438; Allstate Ins. Co. v Kearns, 309 AD2d 776; Puccia v Farley, 261
AD2d 83, 85). We should substitute our judgment for that of the Supreme
Court only if its discretion was exercised improvidently (see Melendez v City of New York, 2 AD3d 170, 170-171).
A motion for leave to renew "shall be based upon new facts not
offered on the prior motion that would change the prior determination"
(CPLR 2221[e]) and "shall contain reasonable justification for the
failure to present such facts on the prior motion" (CPLR 2221[e]).
However, it is within a court's discretion to grant leave to renew upon
facts known to the moving party at the time of the original motion (see J.D. Structures v Waldbaum, 282 AD2d 434, 435).
Under the peculiar facts of this action, the Supreme Court
should have granted that branch of the plaintiffs' motion which was for
leave to renew his earlier opposition, and, upon renewal, the prior
order of preclusion should have been vacated. It was uncontested that
the mold samples taken in 2002 had a testable "shelf life" of only six
months. That being the case, the destruction of the swabbed mold
samples caused no prejudice to the defendant inasmuch as those samples
had quickly and naturally lost their testable value (see Bannon v Auerbach, 6 Misc 3d 219,
220-221). The defendant, having been put on notice of the plaintiffs'
claims beginning in December 2001, could have obtained its own mold
samples in 2002, but did not do so. Moreover, the wood sample taken
from the apartment has been recently located, for reasons adequately
explained in the plaintiffs' renewal papers.
Jennosa v Vermeer Mfg. Co., 2009 NY Slip Op 05845 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)
Moreover, under the circumstances of this case, Governale's loss of the
undeveloped film of the post-accident scene did not warrant the Supreme
Court's determination that he was precluded from offering certain
evidence at trial and allowing an adverse inference charge against him.
"When a party negligently [loses] or intentionally destroys key
evidence, thereby depriving the non-responsible party from being able
to prove its claim or defense, the responsible party may be sanctioned
by the striking of its pleading" (Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v Berkoski Oil Co., 58 AD3d 717,
718). However, "where the evidence lost is not central to the case or
its destruction is not prejudicial, a lesser sanction, or no sanction,
may be appropriate" (Klein v Ford Motor Co., 303 AD2d 376, 377).
Contrary to the plaintiff's contentions, the post-accident photographs
that were lost by Governale were not central to the case, and the loss
did not prejudice the plaintiff in opposing Governale's motion for
summary judgment, or otherwise. The plaintiff himself testified that he
inspected the premises prior to commencing his work and that the
underground hose only became visible after it was entangled in the
stump grinder. Thus, any contention that the post-accident photographs
would have depicted conditions demonstrating that Governale had
constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition is speculative.
Under these circumstances, Governale's loss of the post-accident
photographs did not warrant the imposition of a sanction.
Jones v Grand Opal Constr. Corp., 2009 NY Slip Op 05748 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)
The defendants waived their right to conduct physical examinations
of the plaintiffs by their failure to arrange for such examinations
within the 45-day period set forth in the parties' preliminary
conference order (see Rodriguez v Sau Wo Lau, 298 AD2d 376; James v New York City Tr. Auth., 294 AD2d 471, 472; Schenk v Maloney, 266
AD2d 199, 200), and by their failure to move to vacate the note of
issue within 20 days after service of it and the certificate of
readiness (see 22 NYCRR 202.21[e]; James v New York City Tr. Auth., 294 AD2d 471, 472; Schenk v Maloney, 266 AD2d 199, 200; Williams v Long Is. Coll. Hosp., 147
AD2d 558, 559). However, under certain circumstances and absent a
showing of prejudice to the opposing party, the court may exercise its
discretion to relieve a party of a waiver of the right to conduct a
physical examination (see Barbosa v Capolarello, 52 AD3d 629; Cespuglio v SA Bros. Taxi Corp., 44 AD3d 697, 698; Williams v Long Is. Coll. Hosp., 147 AD2d 559, 559; Kanterman v Palmiotti, 122
AD2d 116). Here, the plaintiffs served a note of issue and statement of
readiness 10 days after the expiration of the time period set forth in
the preliminary conference order for conducting physical examinations
of the plaintiffs and five months prior to the date in said order for
filing a note of issue. Within seven days after the plaintiffs
prematurely filed a note of issue, the defendants designated an
orthopedist and a neurologist to examine the plaintiffs. Thereafter,
the defendants promptly made the instant motion, inter alia, to compel
the plaintiffs to submit to physical examinations. No prejudice to the
plaintiffs has been shown by reason of the short delay, since the case
will be retained on the trial calendar (see Williams v Long Is. Coll. Hosp., 147 AD2d 558, 560; Kanterman v Palmiotti, 122 AD2d 116, 117). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in relieving the defendants of [*2]their
waiver and in granting that branch of the defendants' motion which was
to compel the plaintiffs to submit to physical examinations.
The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in
granting that branch of the defendants' motion which was for leave to
extend their time to move for summary judgment to the extent of
permitting such motion no later than 45 days after the completion of
physical examinations, since there was significant discovery
outstanding at the time the note of issue was filed (see CPLR 3212[a]; Gonzalez v 98 Mag Leasing Corp., 95 NY2d 124; Marks v Mode, 53 AD3d 533; Sclafani v Washington Mut., 36 AD3d 682; Herrera v Felice Realty Corp., 22 AD3d 723, 724).
Molyneaux v City of New York, 2009 NY Slip Op 05610 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)
The court improperly granted plaintiffs' CPLR 3126 motion in the
absence of the required affirmation by their attorney that the latter
had conferred with defendants' attorney in a good faith effort to
resolve the issues raised by the motion (22 NYCRR 202.7[a]; see Cerreta v New Jersey Tr. Corp.,
251 AD2d 190 ). In addition, there was also no clear showing that
any failure by the City to comply with the conditional order was
willful, contumacious or in bad faith (see Reidel v Ryder TRS, Inc., 13 AD3d 170, 171 ).
Defendants represent in their brief that they "recently filed a
stipulation withdrawing [their] appeal from the August  2007 Order"
denying their cross motion seeking, inter alia, renewal of their motion
for summary judgment; such withdrawal apparently was in response to [*2]such
leave having been granted during the pendency of the appeal. The
stipulation, however, is not on file with the Clerk of this Court.
Accordingly, we deem the appeal from the August 10, 2007 order
abandoned, and dismiss it.
The bold is mine.