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It takes more than a mere allegation that a signature is not holographic in order to invoke the “stamped signature” rule. Also, a form defect can be fixed in reply. February 26, 2010

It looks as if an objector to a stamped signature or a computer generated signature needs to present some evidence that the signature is not holographic in order to raise an issue of fact.  Eden Med., P.C. v Eveready Ins. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 50265(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2010).  Equally as important is that the defect may be cured in a reply.

“When an allegation that a peer review report contains a stamped signature of the peer reviewer is properly asserted, it generally cannot be resolved solely by an examination of the papers submitted on a motion for summary judgment, because an issue of fact exists (see Seoulbank, NY Agency v D & J Export & Import Corp., 270 AD2d 193 [2000]; Dyckman v Barrett, 187 AD2d 553 [1992]; Mani Med., P.C. v Eveready Ins. Co., 25 Misc 3d 132[A], 2008 NY Slip Op 52697[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]; see also James v Albank, 307 AD2d 1024 [2003]). However, in the instant case, plaintiff’s mere assertion that the peer review report contained a stamped facsimile signature, without any indication as to why it believes the signature is a stamped facsimile signature, is insufficient to raise an issue of fact. In any event, in [*2]reply, defendant submitted an affidavit from the peer reviewer in which she stated that she had “personally applied the signature on the peer review report.” In light of the foregoing, the order, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed.”

It takes more than a mere allegation that a signature is not holographic in order to invoke the "stamped signature" rule. Also, a form defect can be fixed in reply. February 26, 2010

It looks as if an objector to a stamped signature or a computer generated signature needs to present some evidence that the signature is not holographic in order to raise an issue of fact.  Eden Med., P.C. v Eveready Ins. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 50265(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2010).  Equally as important is that the defect may be cured in a reply.

“When an allegation that a peer review report contains a stamped signature of the peer reviewer is properly asserted, it generally cannot be resolved solely by an examination of the papers submitted on a motion for summary judgment, because an issue of fact exists (see Seoulbank, NY Agency v D & J Export & Import Corp., 270 AD2d 193 [2000]; Dyckman v Barrett, 187 AD2d 553 [1992]; Mani Med., P.C. v Eveready Ins. Co., 25 Misc 3d 132[A], 2008 NY Slip Op 52697[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]; see also James v Albank, 307 AD2d 1024 [2003]). However, in the instant case, plaintiff’s mere assertion that the peer review report contained a stamped facsimile signature, without any indication as to why it believes the signature is a stamped facsimile signature, is insufficient to raise an issue of fact. In any event, in [*2]reply, defendant submitted an affidavit from the peer reviewer in which she stated that she had “personally applied the signature on the peer review report.” In light of the foregoing, the order, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed.”

Appellate Term holds CPLR 3212(f) relief is inappropriate under three separate circumstances February 25, 2010

Bath Med. Supply, Inc. v Allstate Indem. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 20059 (App. Term 2d Dept. 2010)

First, the Appellate Term, Second Department, appears to have, for the first time that  I can recall, denied a 3212(f) application when the defense is based upon a corporate structure issue.  The court found it relevant that many of the corporate documents, which the 3212(f) defense was based upon, are readily available.

Second, the portion of the 3212(f) application, which was based upon the purported need for an EBT of the assignor based upon an allegation that the assignor received the supplies, was denied since the defense may have been precluded.

Third, even if the defense was not precluded, a deposition of the assignor without a subpoena, as we know, is palpably improper.

“The court denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212 (f) on the ground that defendant was entitled to discovery pertaining to its contention that plaintiff had billed insurance companies for medical supplies which were never provided. However, defendant failed to make any showing that its denial of claim forms were timely mailed and that it is not precluded from raising fraudulent billing as a defense (see Fair Price Med. Supply Corp. v Travelers Indem. Co., 10 NY3d 556 [2008]; Presbyterian Hosp. in City of NY v Maryland Cas. Co., 90 NY2d 274, 282 [1997]). Consequently, the court’s determination that discovery was necessary to obtain facts relevant to this precluded defense was improper, and, thus, plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment should not have been denied on that basis.

A defense that plaintiff may be ineligible to recover no-fault benefits because it failed to adhere to applicable statutes (cf. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Mallela, 4 NY3d 313 [2005]) is not precluded, notwithstanding defendant’s failure to demonstrate that its denial of claim forms were timely sent. However, defendant has offered no factual basis for its contention that plaintiff was not properly incorporated as a provider of durable medical equipment or failed to obtain any license that may have been required at the time it delivered medical equipment to its assignor. Further, in light of the availability of public records documenting plaintiff’s licensing status, defendant “failed to demonstrate that discovery was needed in order to show the existence of a triable issue of fact (see CPLR 3212 [f])” (Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Interboro Ins. Co., 25 Misc 3d 134[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 52222[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]; see also Corwin v Heart Share Human Servs. of NY, 66 AD3d 814, 815 [2009] [summary judgment should be deferred pending discovery only when the opponent “offer[s] an evidentiary basis to suggest that discovery might lead to relevant evidence and that facts essential to justify opposition to the motion were exclusively within the knowledge and control of the plaintiff”]).”

We note that, insofar as the order conditioned the grant of defendant’s cross motion on the nonappearance of plaintiff’s assignor for an examination before trial, the order was improper. As plaintiff’s assignor is neither a party to this action nor under plaintiff’s control (Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 88 [1994]; Cardtronics, LP v St. Nicholas Beverage Discount Ctr., Inc., 8 AD3d 419, 420 [2004]; 6A NY Jur 2d, Assignments §§ 59, 85), the sanctions provided by CPLR 3126 (3) for nondisclosure cannot be imposed on plaintiff for failing to produce its assignor for an examination before trial (MIA Acupuncture, P.C. v Mercury Ins. Co., ___ Misc 3d ___, 2009 NY Slip Op 29509 [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]).

Interesting Mallela case from the Appellate Term, Second Department February 25, 2010

May a physician who does not practice acupuncture bill for the services of an acupuncturist he or she hires?  That almost sounds like a question that I would start one of my appellate briefs with.

The Appellate Term, Second Department says “no” in  Quality Med. Care, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2010 NY Slip Op 50262(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2010).

You can read the case if you want, but it follows the logic of Justice Dollard’s opinion in St. Paul Travelers Ins. Co. v Nandi, 15 Misc 3d 1145(A)(Sup. Ct. Queens Co. 2007).  I like the “c.f.” to Healthmakers Med. Group, P.C. v Travelers Indem. Co., 13 Misc 3d 136(A)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2006).

I will pass on offering my opinion on this one.  You cannot have my opinion on every PIP issue now.  I do not accept Pay Pal, sorry.

The first department is out of control February 24, 2010

Yes, you read that title correctly.  Three bizarre decisions as of late, one which deals tangentially with no fault (Garcia v Leon, 2010 NY Slip Op 01538 [1st Dept 2010]), one which effects the safety of no-fault attorneys going to court in the bronx (People v Correa, 2010 NY Slip Op 01533 [1st Dept. 2010]) and one which effects the negligence case of a no-fault attorney (Tselebis v Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 2010 NY Slip Op 01442 [1st Dept 2010]) have been decided by the First Department.

Garcia is completely at odds with conflicting Second Department precedent inasmuch as it affirmatively allows for hearsay evidence to be used to defeat a summary judgment motion as set forth herein: “[t]he affidavit of her treating chiropractor, taken in conjunction with her medical experts’ unsworn statements and her MRI tests, raises questions as to whether her shoulder and cervical and lumbar spinal injuries are permanent or significant, and not merely preexisting, degenerative, or caused by a subsequent 2007 accident (see Liriano v Ostrich Cab Corp., 61 AD3d 543 [2009]; Hammett v Diaz-Frias, 49 AD3d)”

Correa ruled that former Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s creation of a Supreme Court, criminal division, in the Bronx, which had original jurisdiction over both misdemeanor and felony cases, was unconstitutional.  Thus, many violent misdemeanants’ convictions are being vacated.  Look both ways before you cross the street because Rikers is being emptied.  I am being facetious by the way.  Finally, Tselebis takes the notion of summary judgment and I think turns it into an evidentiary fact finding device, contrary to the purpose of the summary disposition statute, but consistent with the modern view of the summary judgment motion, i.e., a trial on papers.