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A 325(d) case outside the equity jurisdiction of supreme Court cannot be ruled upon by an Acting Supreme Court JusticeFebruary 19, 2018

Caffrey v North Arrow Abstract & Settlement Servs., Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 01043 (2d Dept. 2018)

This is a fascinating case involving an Acting Supreme Court Justice’s equity jurisdiction when effectuating that role in the Civil Court in a 325(d) matter.  The agreed to facts are as follows:

“The parties agree that the initial transfer of the action to the Civil Court for trial pursuant to CPLR 325(d) was jurisdictionally erroneous and procedurally improper. The parties dispute whether the Supreme Court had the authority to retransfer the action to itself after the Civil Court judgment had already been entered. They also dispute the authority of the Supreme Court to, in effect, adopt the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Civil Court trial judge and to concomitantly substitute the Civil Court judgment with a Supreme Court judgment based on the same trial proceeding.”

The court holds that a post-judgment re transfer (325[b]) is inappropriate, despite the reality that Supreme Court have legally assigned the case to Justice Liddy Marazzo in the first instance or, before trial, the case could have been moved out of Civil Court and then re-assigned to Justice Marazzo .  Very fascinating.

I like this part:

(1) “Nevertheless, a court should not take judicial notice of any court-generated document without affording the parties an opportunity to be heard on whether notice should be taken, and, if so, the significance of its content (see CPLR 4511[a], [b]; cf. Tirado v Miller, 75 AD3d 153, 160). In recognizing the potential centrality and significance of any order designating the Civil Court judge as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court for this matter, we afforded the parties to this appeal an opportunity to submit simultaneous post-argument letter briefs on the issue and have considered their responses.

The determination of whether to judicially notice a court-generated document ultimately rests upon whether the document is reliable, the accuracy and veracity of which cannot be disputed. Court-generated orders from the Chief Administrative Judge, designating a jurist of one court as an acting jurist in another court, satisfy the requisite reliability, accuracy, and veracity as to be uncontestable for judicial notice. Consequently, in rendering our decision on this appeal, we recognize that as of January 5, 2012, Judge Marrazzo was designated as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court.”

The Holding

“Here, Administrative Order 227/2012, of which we take judicial notice, and which designated Civil Court Judge Marrazzo as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, was not unrestricted and open-ended, but instead was subject by its expressed terms to a crucial limitation; namely, the judge was assigned “as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, to serve in the Supreme Court, Thirteenth Judicial District, Civil Term” (emphasis added).  Although Judge Marrazzo was not divested of his authority to function as a Civil Court judge in the Civil Court, the Administrative Order only permitted him to act in the additional capacity of Acting Justice of the Supreme Court for matters pending in the Supreme Court itself, having Supreme Court captions and index numbers. Conversely, Administrative Order 227/2012 did not address or confer Acting Supreme Court status on Judge Marrazzo to hear and adjudicate matters pending elsewhere, such as in the Civil Court. It is also beyond cavil that an Administrative Order cannot expand the subject matter jurisdiction of the Civil Court that does not otherwise exist under the State’s Constitution.

The result here is that another Supreme Court Justice not within the Civil Court should have re transferred the case prior to it beginning to Justice Marrazzo.

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