Res Judicata and Law of the Case

Shahid v Legal Aid Socy., 173 AD3d 1099 [2d Dept. 2019]

“Where a dismissal does not involve a determination on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply” (Djoganopoulos v Polkes, 67 AD3d 726, 727 [2009]). “As a general rule, a dismissal for failure to state a cause of action is not on the merits and, thus, will not be given res judicata effect” (Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d 1141, 1142 [2010]). Here, contrary to the defendant’s contention that this action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata, the August 2015 complaint was not dismissed on the merits (see Hock v Cohen, 125 AD3d 722, 723 [2015]; Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d at 1142).

Abdelfattah v Najar, 73 AD3d 657 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court should not have granted the motion of the defendants Adnan Najar, Mohammed Najar, and 887 Fulton Realty, LLC (hereinafter collectively the defendants), pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them on the ground that the action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The plaintiff had commenced a prior action against, among others, the defendants, and the complaint in that action was dismissed insofar as asserted against them upon the plaintiff’s failure to appear in opposition to their motion to dismiss. An order entered upon a party’s default in appearing to oppose a motion to dismiss is not a determination on the merits (see Aguilar v Jacoby, 34 AD3d 706 [2006]). Where a dismissal does not involve a determination on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply (see Cortazar v Tomasino, 150 AD3d 668, 670 [2017]; Pereira v St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 78 AD3d 1141 [2010]). Accordingly, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply to bar the instant action (see Franchise Acquisitions Group Corp. v Jefferson Val. Mall Ltd. Partnership, 73 AD3d 1123 [2010]).

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Enbar, 173 AD3d 938 [2d Dept. 2019]

“A stipulation of discontinuance with prejudice without reservation of right or limitation of the claims disposed of is entitled to preclusive effect under the doctrine of res judicata” (Liberty Assoc. v Etkin, 69 AD3d 681, 682-683 [2010]; see Mooney v Manhattan Occupational, Physical & Speech Therapies, PLLC, 166 AD3d 957, 959 [2018]; Trapani v Squitieri, 107 AD3d 696, 696-697 [2013]; Matter of Chiantella v Vishnick, 84 AD3d 797, 798 [2011]).

Fidler v Gordon-Herricks Corp., 173 AD3d 840 [2d Dept. 2019]

“Pursuant to the doctrine of [the] law of the case, judicial determinations made during the course of . . . litigation before final judgment is entered may have preclusive effect provided that the parties had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the initial determination” (Sterngass v Town Bd. of Town of Clarkstown, 43 AD3d 1037, 1037 [2007]; accord Ruffino v Green, 72 AD3d 785, 786 [2010]). However, “[t]he doctrine . . . applies only to legal determinations that were necessarily resolved on the merits in [a] prior decision, and to the same questions presented in the same case” (Mosby v Parilla, 140 AD3d 1129, 1130-1131 [2016] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Ramanathan v Aharon, 109 AD3d 529, 530 [2013]; Erickson v Cross Ready Mix, Inc., 98 AD3d 717, 717 [2012]).

Here, the doctrine of the law of the case is inapplicable, because the order entered July 14, 2016, reflects that summary judgment was awarded in favor of the moving defendants upon grounds that were specific to those defendants.

Landis v 383 Realty Corp., 173 AD3d 636 [2d Dept. 2019]

This action was commenced in Supreme Court and transferred to Surrogate’s Court upon the death of defendant Bunita L. Weiner. Before the transfer, plaintiff had moved for summary judgment, and Supreme Court (Barry Ostrager, J.) had denied the motion in an order entered July 31, 2017. That ruling, which plaintiff did not appeal, remained law of the case and could not be contravened by a court of coordinate jurisdiction (Grossman v Meller, 213 AD2d 221, 224 [1st Dept 1995]). Thus, the Surrogate correctly denied the instant motion for summary judgment on the ground that, as she said, “the substance of [plaintiff’s] motion was already squarely decided against him” by Supreme Court.

OSC issues

U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v DeLuca, 173 AD3d 1242 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court declined to sign the proposed order to show cause and issued an order to that effect dated November 7, 2016.

By decision and order on motion dated January 9, 2017, this Court granted the defendant leave to appeal from the Supreme Court’s order declining to sign the proposed order to show cause and stayed the foreclosure sale of the subject property pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

“The court in a proper case may grant an order to show cause, to be served in lieu of a notice of motion, at a time and in a manner specified therein” (CPLR 2214 [d]). The CPLR does not give a definition of a “proper case,” so the decision to sign an order to show cause is within the judge’s discretion (see Siegel & Connors, NY Prac § 248 [6th ed]). Upon review of the record, the Supreme Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion by declining to sign the proposed order to show cause, as the defendant failed to rebut the presumption of proper service of the relevant documents established by the process servers’ affidavits (see US Bank, N.A. v Daskal, 164 AD3d 709, 711 [2018]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Whitter, 159 AD3d 942, 945 [2018]; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v O’King, 148 AD3d 776, 776-777 [2017]).

Cypress Hills Mgt., Inc. v Lempenski, 173 AD3d 830] [2d Dept. 2019]

After defaulting in this action, the defendant attempted to move by order to show cause to vacate his default, asserting that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over him because he had never been served. The Supreme Court, Kings County (Devin P. Cohen, J.), did not sign the order to show cause, but nevertheless purported to deny the application on the merits in an order dated July 5, 2017. The defendant then filed a second order to show cause, seeking the same relief as his prior application. The Supreme Court, Kings County (Lawrence Knipel, J.), signed the order to show cause and allowed the motion to proceed. However, the court subsequently denied the motion on the ground that it could not overrule the decision of another Supreme Court Justice. The defendant appeals.

By declining to sign the first order to show cause, Justice Cohen, in effect, refused to permit the defendant to bring on that motion seeking to vacate his default. Consequently, the order dated July 5, 2017, purporting to deny that motion on the merits, was improper because there was no pending motion. While the defendant could have sought to have this Court review Justice Cohen’s refusal to sign the order to show cause (see CPLR 5704 [a]; Matter of Greenhaus v Milano, 242 AD2d 383 [1997]), he instead chose to simply re-apply for an order to show cause before a different Supreme Court Justice. One Supreme Court Justice should not sign an order to show cause refused by a colleague, assuming that the supporting papers are the same. Nevertheless, under the circumstances of this case, the order to show cause having been signed by a different Supreme Court Justice, the motion thus allowed should have been determined on its merits as the order dated July 5, 2017, did not represent the determination of a prior motion by a Justice of coordinate jurisdiction.

The procedural morass which occurred here is the result of two fundamental errors. First, a court which declines to sign an order to show cause, and thus refuses to allow that motion to be made, should not proceed to act as if the motion had in fact been made. If the court declines to sign an order to show cause, that is all it should do. Second, a remedy of a party whose proposed order to show cause has been refused is to seek relief from the Appellate Division pursuant to CPLR 5704 (a). The remedy is not to simply re-submit the same application to the same or a different Supreme Court Justice.

Discovery mid-trial (CPLR 3102(d), law of the case, and willful refusal

Matter of Michael R. v Amanda R., 2019 NY Slip Op 06454 [2d Dept. 2019]

A party may seek additional disclosure after trial commences only by permission of the trial court on notice (CPLR 3102[d]). Here, the father never sought permission for posttrial discovery. Nor do the father’s motion papers demonstrate any reason why he should have been permitted to pursue additional discovery more than a year after trial commenced. In view of this, and the fact that the mother faced contempt penalties if she were unable to present evidence about her ability to pay, the Support Magistrate improvidently exercised his discretion in “precluding” the mother from presenting evidence and testimony that he had already admitted into evidence at trial more than a year previously.

***

Third, contrary to the Family Court’s conclusion that the mother was also barred from objecting to the amount of arrears by the doctrine of law of the case, that doctrine is only applicable to “legal determinations that were necessarily resolved on the merits in a prior decision” (J.P. Morgan Sec., Inc. v Vigilant Ins. Co., 166 AD3d 1, 8 [1st Dept 2018] [emphasis added] [internal quotation marks omitted]). Since the mother’s earlier-filed objections were denied on procedural grounds, the application of the doctrine of the law of the case did not apply under the circumstances here.

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. v Bergos, 18 AD3d 218 [1st Dept. 2005]

The record in this attorney fee dispute discloses that defendants willfully refused or simply failed to avail themselves of the opportunity to take plaintiff’s deposition prior to the deadline set forth in the preliminary conference stipulation, and willfully refused to obtain copies of documents that defense counsel had already inspected and tagged for copying. Under these circumstances, defendants’ motion to vacate the note of issue was properly denied since the certificate of readiness correctly represented that defendants had waived any right they had to additional discovery (cf. Munoz v 147 Corp., 309 AD2d 647, 648 [2003]; Ortiz v Arias, 285 AD2d 390 [2001]).

 

Intervention (CPLR 1012 and 1013)

Town of Warwick v Black Bear Campgrounds, 168 AD3d 1020 [2d Dept. 2019]

Intervention pursuant to either CPLR 1012 or 1013 requires a timely motion (see CPLR 1012, 1013; Castle Peak 2012-1 Loan Trust v Sattar, 140 AD3d 1107, 1108 [2016]; U.S. Bank N.A. v Bisono, 98 AD3d 608, 609 [2012]). Under the circumstances presented here, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to deny, as untimely, the proposed intervenors’ motion for leave to intervene (see Matter of Rutherford Chems., LLC v Assessor of Town of Woodbury, 115 AD3d 960, 961 [2014]; Matter of Arcelormittal Lackawanna LLC v City of Lackawanna, 66 AD3d 1365, 1365-1366 [2009]; Rectory Realty Assoc. v Town of Southampton, 151 AD2d 737, 737-738 [1989]).

Hearsay / 4518 / 4519

Grechko v Maimonides Med. Ctr., 2019 NY Slip Op 06478 [2d Dept. 2019]

The defendants argue that the entries in the Coney Island Hospital records were admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. “A hearsay entry in a hospital record is admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule if the entry is germane to the diagnosis or treatment of the patient” (Berkovits v Chaaya, 138 AD3d 1050, 1051; see CPLR 4518[a]). Here, although the entries were germane to the decedent’s diagnosis and treatment, the defendants failed to offer foundational testimony under CPLR 4518(a) or certification under CPLR 4518(c) (cf. Matter of Kai B., 38 AD3d 882, 884). Accordingly, the entries were not admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule.

If an entry in the medical records “is inconsistent with a position taken by a party at trial, it is admissible as an admission by that party, even if it is not germane to the diagnosis or treatment, as long as there is evidence connecting the party to the entry'” (Robles v Polytemp, Inc., 127 AD3d 1052, 1054, quoting Coker v Bakkal Foods, Inc., 52 AD3d 765, 766). Here, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to preclude so much of Rakhmanchik’s entry as stated that, according to the decedent’s primary care physician, the decedent signed an AMA form at the Medical Center, as the entry clearly states that the decedent’s primary care physician, not the decedent himself, was the source of the information contained therein (see Robles v Polytemp, Inc., 127 AD3d at 1054; cf. Amann v Edmonds, 306 AD2d 362, 363). However, we disagree with the court’s ruling that the plaintiff opened the door to the admission of Rakhmanchik’s entry with the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert physician. The expert did not testify to any conversations between the decedent’s primary care physician and Rakhmanchik, but only to the decedent’s own statements.

Moreover, we disagree with the Supreme Court that Uddin’s entry was admissible, as the defendants failed to establish that the decedent was the source of the information that he left the Medical Center after signing an AMA form (see Coker v Bakkal Foods, Inc., 52 AD3d at 766; Cuevas v Alexander’s, Inc., 23 AD3d 428, 429; Thompson v Green Bus Lines, 280 AD2d 468, 468; Ginsberg v North Shore Hosp., 213 AD2d 592, 592-593; Echeverria v City of New York, 166 AD2d 409, 410).

Additionally, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s determination that the deposition testimony of Uddin and Volovoy was admissible. Pursuant to CPLR 4519, otherwise known as the Dead Man’s Statute, “[u]pon the trial of an action . . . a party or a person interested in the event . . . shall not be examined as a witness in his [or her] own behalf or interest . . . against the executor, administrator or survivor of a deceased person or the committee of a mentally ill person . . . concerning a personal transaction or communication between the witness and the deceased person or mentally ill person, except where the executor, administrator, survivor, committee or person so deriving title or interest is examined in his [or her] own behalf, of the testimony of the mentally ill person or deceased person is given in evidence, concerning the same transaction or communication.” Here, both Volovoy and Uddin were defendants at the time they gave deposition testimony, making them interested parties under the statute (see Durazinski v Chandler, 41 AD3d 918, 920). Moreover, they both testified to transactions or communications with the decedent and sought to offer that testimony against the decedent’s estate. Accordingly, the Dead Man’s Statute applied to, and barred, the admission of their deposition testimony.

The defendants argue that the plaintiff waived the protections of the Dead Man’s Statute by eliciting the communications at issue. However, “[t]he executor does not waive rights under the statute by taking the opponent’s deposition” (Phillips v Kantor & Co., 31 NY2d 307, 313; see Wall St. Assoc. v Brodsky, 295 AD2d 262, 263). Additionally, although the defendants contend that Volovoy’s deposition testimony was properly admitted for impeachment purposes, deposition testimony may only be used to impeach a witness “so far as admissible under the rules of evidence” (CPLR 3117[a]; see Rivera v New York City Tr. Auth., 54 AD3d 545, 547). Contrary to the defendants’ contention, the declaration of the decedent did not fall within the declaration against interest exception to the hearsay rule because the defendants failed to establish that the subject statement was against the decedent’s interest when made (see Field v Schultz, 308 AD2d 505, 506). Moreover, where the Dead Man’s Statute renders a witness’s testimony inadmissible, “the fact that the testimony would fall within an exception to the hearsay rule is simply irrelevant” (Wall St. Assoc. v Brodsky, 295 AD2d at 263 [internal quotation marks omitted]).

Under the circumstances here, the erroneous admission of the entries contained in the Coney Island Hospital record and the deposition testimony of Uddin and Volovoy cannot be deemed harmless, as the entries and testimony related to the very issue to be determined by the jury, i.e., whether Orr and the Medical Center failed to recognize the severity of the decedent’s illness (see Cuevas v Alexander’s, Inc., 23 AD3d at 429). A new trial is therefore necessary.

HSBC Bank USA, Natl. Assn. v Green, 2019 NY Slip Op 06482 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, the plaintiff established standing by submitting the note, the mortgage, and the endorsement of the note in blank, when it filed the complaint (see e.g. U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v Cox, 148 AD3d 962, 963; Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v Garrison, 147 AD3d 725, 726). However, Green correctly contends that the plaintiff failed to submit evidence establishing her default. Wilson failed to attach or incorporate any of Wells Fargo’s business records to her affidavit. Accordingly, her affidavit constituted inadmissible hearsay and lacked probative value (see Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Gordon, 171 AD3d 197).

The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the plaintiff’s motion for leave to renew the motion for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against Green and for an order of reference. ” A motion for leave to renew is not a second chance freely given to parties who have not exercised due diligence in making their first factual presentation'” (Kamdem-Ouaffo v Pepsico, Inc., 133 AD3d 828, 828, quoting Elder v Elder, 21 AD3d 1055, 1055). Here, the plaintiff failed to provide a reasonable explanation for failing to provide the information contained in Brooks’s affidavit with the original motion (see Caffee v Arnold, 104 AD2d 352). In any event, Brooks’s affidavit failed to establish Green’s default. Thus, her affidavit would not have changed the prior determination.

We also agree with the Supreme Court’s determination that the plaintiff failed to meet its prima facie burden at trial. “A proper foundation for the admission of a business record must be provided by someone with personal knowledge of the maker’s business practices and procedures” (Citibank, N.A. v Cabrera, 130 AD3d 861, 861; see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Mercius, 138 AD3d 650, 652). At the trial in this case, Wiggins testified only that he had access to Wells Fargo’s computerized records. He did not testify that he was familiar with Wells Fargo’s practices in making those records, and he failed to state that he had any knowledge regarding the plaintiff’s records. Moreover, the plaintiff did not attempt to introduce any of the relevant records into evidence.

Experts

Simpson v Edghill, 169 AD3d 737 [2d Dept. 2019]

In opposition, the affidavit of the plaintiff’s expert failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to the causation element. “ ’While it is true that a medical expert need not be a specialist in a particular field in order to testify regarding accepted practices in that field . . . the witness nonetheless should be possessed of the requisite skill, training, education, knowledge or experience from which it can be assumed that the opinion rendered is reliable’ ” (Behar v Coren, 21 AD3d 1045, 1046-1047 [2005], quoting Postlethwaite v United Health Servs. Hosps., 5 AD3d 892, 895 [2004]). “Thus, where a physician opines outside his or her area of specialization, a foundation must be laid tending to support the reliability of the opinion rendered” (Behar v Coren, 21 AD3d at 1047; see Galluccio v Grossman, 161 AD3d 1049, 1052 [2018]). Here, the plaintiff’s expert, who was board certified in ophthalmology, was qualified to, and did, raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Edghill deviated from the accepted standard of care in failing to refer the plaintiff to a neurologist to further evaluate his symptoms. However, the affidavit was insufficient to establish that the plaintiff’s meningioma could have been treated by radiation instead of surgery if it had been detected in November 2014. The plaintiff’s expert failed to articulate that he had any training in the treatment of meningiomas or what, if anything, he did to familiarize himself with the applicable standard of care. The affidavit, therefore, lacked probative value and failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether any departure from the accepted standard of care proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries (see Feuer v Ng, 136 AD3d 704, 707 [2016]; Tsimbler v Fell, 123 AD3d 1009, 1010 [2014]).

Noble v Kingsbrook Jewish Med. Ctr., 168 AD3d 1077 [2d Dept. 2019] (same as Simpson v Edghill, 169 AD3d 737 [2d Dept. 2019]

Sanchez v L.R.S. Cab Corp., 169 AD3d 733 [2d Dept. 2019]

In opposition, the appellant failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The affirmed report of the appellant’s neurologist was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact, as it failed to expressly compare the appellant’s range of motion to a normal range of motion, and it failed to provide any qualitative assessment of the appellant’s condition (see Toure v Avis Rent A Car Sys., 98 NY2d at 350; Fiorillo v Arriaza, 52 AD3d 465, 466-467 [2008]; Kaminski v Kawamoto, 49 AD3d 501, 502 [2008]).

Cho v Demelo, 2019 NY Slip Op 06467 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court should not have granted that branch of the defendants’ motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff did not sustain a serious injury. The defendants failed to meet their prima facie burden on the motion (see generally Toure v Avis Rent A Car Sys., 98 NY2d 345; Gaddy v Eyler, 79 NY2d 955). The affirmed report of their orthopedic surgeon failed to identify the objective tests that were utilized to measure the plaintiff’s ranges of motion, and thus, did not support the conclusion that the plaintiff suffered no limitations as a result of the accident (see Zavala v Zizzo, 172 AD3d 793, 794; Bayk v Martini, 142 AD3d 484Durand v Urick, 131 AD3d 920Exilus v Nicholas, 26 AD3d 457). It is therefore unnecessary to determine whether the papers submitted by the plaintiff in opposition to the motion were sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact (see Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853).

Vacatur

CVM Partners 1, LLC v Adams, 173 AD3d 971 [2d Dept. 2019]

No appeal lies from an order or judgment granted upon the default of the appealing party (see CPLR 5511; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Gervais, 168 AD3d 692, 693 [2019]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Simms, 163 AD3d 930, 932 [2018]; Adotey v British Airways, PLC, 145 AD3d 748, 749 [2016]). Although “an appeal from such a judgment brings up for review those matters which were the subject of contest before the Supreme Court” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 167 AD3d 571, 572 [2018] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Bottini v Bottini, 164 AD3d 556, 558 [2018]; Alam v Alam, 123 AD3d 1066, 1067 [2014]), the defendant here defaulted at every stage of the proceedings, beginning with his failure to appear or answer the complaint, continuing with his failure to appear on the return dates of his two motions, brought on by orders to show cause, one of which sought to vacate his default in failing to appear at a scheduled court conference, and ending with his failure to oppose the motions that led to the amended judgment of foreclosure and sale appealed from. Accordingly, since there were no “matters which were the subject of contest before the Supreme Court” (Geffner v Mercy Med. Ctr., 167 AD3d at 572 [internal quotation marks omitted]), the appeal must be dismissed in its entirety.

Equity Inv. & Mtge. Co. v Smith, 173 AD3d 690 [2d Dept. 2019]

Although courts have discretionary power to relieve a party from a judgment or order “for sufficient reason and in the interest[ ] of substantial justice” (Woodson v Mendon Leasing Corp., 100 NY2d 62, 68 [2003]; see Katz v Marra, 74 AD3d 888, 890 [2010]), “[a] court’s inherent power to exercise control over its judgment[ ] is not plenary, and should be resorted to only to relieve a party from judgments taken through [fraud,] mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect” (Matter of McKenna v County of Nassau, Off. of County Attorney, 61 NY2d 739, 742 [1984] [internal quotation marks omitted]; see HSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d 788, 790 [2017]). Here, the arguments advanced by the City in support of its motion did not constitute grounds for relief, either under CPLR 5015 (a) or pursuant to the Supreme Court’s inherent discretionary power to vacate the judgment for sufficient reason and in the interest of substantial justice (see Matter of McKenna v County of Nassau, Off. of County Attorney, 61 NY2d at 742; HSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d at 790; Alexander v New York City Tr. Auth., 35 AD3d 772 [2006]).

Diamond v Leone, 173 AD3d 686 [2d Dept. 2019]

The Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in finding that the plaintiff did not demonstrate a reasonable excuse for her failure to appear on November 28, 2017. In an affirmation in support of the motion, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted a detailed and credible explanation of the law office failure which caused the default in appearing. The plaintiff’s attorney affirmed that an entry in the “Comments” field for the subject appearance date on the “eLaw” website had created confusion as to whether the scheduled appearance had been adjourned from November 28 to November 30, and that the attorney’s law office had repeatedly attempted to contact the Part Clerk on November 27 and November 28 for clarification and had left a voicemail message. The attorney affirmed that when his law office finally communicated directly with the Part Clerk at approximately 11:30 a.m. on November 28, his law office was advised that the case had been dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to appear. The attorney’s affirmation was supported by, among other things, printouts from the “eLaw” website. Therefore, the plaintiff provided a reasonable excuse for failing to appear (see 555 Prospect Assoc., LLC v Greenwich Design & Dev. Group Corp., 154 AD3d 909 [2017]; Hobbins v North Star Orthopedics, PLLC, 148 AD3d 784 [2017]; Polsky v Simon, 145 AD3d 693 [2016]). The plaintiff also demonstrated a potentially meritorious cause of action (see 555 Prospect Assoc., LLC v Greenwich Design & Dev. Group Corp., 154 AD3d at 910). Accordingly, the court should have granted the plaintiff’s motion to vacate the “order on default” dated November 28, 2017, and to restore the action to the trial calendar.

Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Ruci, 168 AD3d 799 [2d Dept. 2019]

The appellant’s vague and unsubstantiated claim of law office failure by an unidentified attorney was insufficient to establish a reasonable excuse for her default (see LaSalle Bank, N.A. v LoRusso, 155 AD3d 706, 707 [2017]; U.S. Bank N.A. v Barr, 139 AD3d 937, 938 [2016]; M & T Bank v Morris, 138 AD3d 939 [2016]). Since the appellant failed to establish a reasonable excuse for her default, it is not necessary to determine whether she demonstrated a potentially meritorious defense to the action (see LaSalle Bank, N.A. v LoRusso, 155 AD3d at 706; Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Colucci, 138 AD3d 1047, 1048 [2016]; M & T Bank v Morris, 138 AD3d at 940). 

EMC Mtge. Corp. v Walker, 2019 NY Slip Op 06474 [2d Dept. 2019]

Here, when the plaintiff moved, in effect, to vacate the May 2013 order and to restore the action to the calendar, it failed to proffer a reasonable excuse for its default in appearing at the scheduled court conference, and merely alleged that “there was no missed appearance, and as such 22 NYCRR 202.27 does not apply.” Moreover, the plaintiff failed to articulate any basis for the more than 2½-year delay in moving to vacate the order of dismissal (see id. at 1252; Wright v City of Poughkeepsie, 136 AD3d 809). In light of the lack of a reasonable excuse, it is unnecessary to determine whether the plaintiff demonstrated the existence of a potentially meritorious cause of action (see Wright v City of Poughkeepsie, 136 AD3d at 809; Selechnik v Law Off. of Howard R. Birnbach, 120 AD3d 1220). Thus, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to hold a traverse hearing on June 22, 2016, and its subsequent determination granting the plaintiff’s motion, in effect, pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to vacate the May 2013 order and to restore the action to the calendar, and that branch of the plaintiff’s separate motion which was to extend the time to serve Walker in the interest of justice.

LaSalle Bank, N.A. v Delice, 2019 NY Slip Op 06485 [2d Dept. 2019]

Most importantly, the plaintiff did not provide any explanation as to why it delayed more than five years before filing its motion to vacate, apart from the vague assertion that it hired new counsel because, at some point, the law firm that represented the plaintiff at the time of the January 2011 order subsequently closed. The plaintiff’s contention that the delay was justified because its subsequent counsel expended extensive efforts to comply with Administrative Orders 548/10 and 431/11 of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts is raised for the first time on appeal and not properly before us (cf. U.S. Bank N.A. v Ahmed, 137 AD3d 1106, 1108-1109). The plaintiff’s lengthy delay in moving to vacate, failure to adequately explain the delay, and failure to pursue other available avenues of relief support the court’s determination not to exercise its discretion to vacate the dismissal order in the interests of substantial justice (seeHSBC Bank USA v Josephs-Byrd, 148 AD3d at 790; cf. U.S. Bank N.A. v Ahmed, 137 AD3d at 1108-1109).

CPLR 5513(a)

W. Rogowski Farm, LLC v County of Orange, 2019 NY Slip Op 01815 [2d Dept. 2019]

[W]e hold that service of the order or judgment with written notice of entry by any party upon the other parties to the action operates to commence the 30-day time to appeal with respect to not only the serving party, but all the parties in the action.

***

[T]he language of CPLR 5513(a) as to who serves notice of entry is not limited to the “prevailing party,” or to “the appealing party,” or to “the party seeking to limit an adversary’s appellate time.” Rather, “a” party, which is unrestricted, necessarily refers to “any” party to an action. As a result, the service of an order or judgment with written notice of entry commences the 30-day time to appeal as to not only the party performing the service, but as to all other parties as well.

***

The plaintiffs argue that the County’s motion to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against it is untimely, as the motion was not filed until after the parties’ briefs had been fully submitted, and that the issue is otherwise waived.
The County’s motion to dismiss is nevertheless entertained and granted on its merits. As previously noted, the time period for filing a notice of appeal is jurisdictional in nature and non-waivable.

“Manifest disregard of the law”

Matter of Reljic v Tullett Prebon Fin. Servs., LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 01182 [1st Dept. 2019]

In holding petitioners jointly and severally liable for compensatory damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, the arbitrators did not act in manifest disregard of the law (see Matter of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. v Chesley, 7 AD3d 368, 372 [1st Dept 2004]; Duferco Intl. Steel Trading v T. Klaveness Shipping A/S, 333 F3d 383, 385 [2d Cir 2003] [“to vacate an arbitral award on the grounds of manifest disregard of the law … we must be persuaded that the arbitrators understood but chose to disregard a clearly defined law or legal principle”]).

Discovery

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]).