Limits of cross-examination

People v Jackson (Miriam), 2017 NY Slip Op 50133(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2017)

“A trial court “has broad discretion to limit cross-examination when questions are repetitive, irrelevant or only marginally relevant, concern collateral issues, or threaten to mislead the jury” (People v Rivera, 98 AD3d 529, 529 [2012]; see Delaware v Van Arsdall, 475 US 673, 679 [1986]; People v Corby, 6 NY3d 231, 234-235 [2005]; People v Arroyo, 131 AD3d 1257, 1258 [2015]; People v Pena, 113 AD3d 701, 702 [2014]; People v Stevens, 45 AD3d 610, 611 [2007]). However, a court’s discretion in making such rulings “is circumscribed by the rules of evidence and the defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense”

This case gives you a perspective on the appropriate scope of

Business record discussion in foreclosures

CitiMortgage, Inc. v McKinney, 2016 NY Slip Op 08037 (2d Dept. 2016)

“Stringer further asserted that she was personally familiar with the plaintiff’s record-keeping practices and procedures, the records were made in the regular course of business, it was the regular course of the plaintiff’s business to make them, and the records were made at or near the time of the occurrence of the matters set forth in the records. This was sufficient to establish, prima facie, that the plaintiff was the holder of the note at the time the action was commenced (see CPLR 4518[a];”

Business records play a much less prominent role nowadays in our realm of practice.

3101(d) from the Court of Appeals

Rivera v Montefiore Med. Ctr., 2016 NY Slip Op 06854 (2016)

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and contrarily construed provisions of the CPLR is expert witness disclosure.  The problem emanates from a reality that New York disallows expert witness depositions, unlike most states and the FRCP.  The corrolary to the problem is that timing and substance issues of the disclosure become of paramount concern.

As a practitioner, there is nothing more obnoxious than an adversary who had at least 7-30 days to review the disclosure to state after a case is sent out for jury selection or a bench trial to object to the sufficiency of the disclosure.  The time to object is prior to being sent out, and the proper mechanism is really through motion or order to show cause.  This case solidifies proper procedure versus shot-gun procedure.

Of course, a party that gives a misleading disclosure will still pay the Piper his due.

(1) “CPLR 3101 (d) (1) (i) requires each party to “identify each person whom the party expects to call as an expert witness at trial and [to] disclose in reasonable detail the subject matter on which each expert is expected to testify, the qualifications for each expert witness and a summary of the grounds for each expert’s opinion.” It was within the trial court’s discretion to deny plaintiff’s motion to preclude (see People v Carroll, 95 NY2d 375, 385 [2000]). Trial courts possess broad discretion in their supervision of expert disclosure under CPLR 3101 (d) (1) (see Bernardis v Town of Islip, 95 AD3d 1050, 1050 [2d Dept 2012]). “A determination regarding whether to preclude a party from introducing the testimony of an expert witness at trial based on the party’s failure to comply with 3101 (d) (1) (i) is left to the sound discretion of the court” (McGlauflin v Wadhwa, 265 AD2d 534, 534 [2d Dept 1999]; see also Deandino v New York City Tr. Auth., 105 AD3d 801, 803 [2d Dept 2013]; but see Saldivar v I.J. White Corp., 46 AD3d 660, 661 [2d Dept 2007]).”

(2) Plaintiff made her motion mid-trial immediately prior to the expert’s testimony. Plaintiff argues that at the time of the expert exchange, she had no reason to object to the disclosure statement because the statement gave no indication that defendant would challenge plaintiff’s theory of decedent’s cause of death. Assuming defendant’s disclosure was deficient, such deficiency was readily apparent; the disclosure identified “causation” as a subject matter but did not provide any indication of a theory or basis for the expert’s opinion. This is not analogous to a situation in which a party’s disclosure was misleading or the trial testimony was inconsistent with the disclosure. Rather, the issue here was insufficiency.

Uncertified police report valid to the extent there is an admission

Lesaldo v Dabas, 2016 NY Slip Op 04181 (2d Dept. 2016)

“The plaintiff’s affidavit and the police accident report, which contained the defendant’s admission to the effect that she did not see the plaintiff walking in the crosswalk as she [*2]attempted to make the left turn, were sufficient to establish, prima facie, the plaintiff’s entitlement to judgment as a matter of law (see Zhu v Natale, 131 AD3d at 608; Brown v Mackiewicz, 120 AD3d at 1173; Ramos v Bartis, 112 AD3d 804; Brown v Pinkett, 110 AD3d 1024). Contrary to the defendant’s contention, that portion of the uncertified police accident report which contained her admission was admissible (see Gezelter v Pecora, 129 AD3d 1021, 1022-1023).

In opposition, the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The defendant’s affidavit wherein she averred that the plaintiff was not crossing the street within the crosswalk and that the impact occurred at least two car lengths past the intersection contradicted her prior admission. The defendant made no effort in opposition to explain the admission in the police report or deny its accuracy”

Judicial notice of the Supreme Court file

IMA Acupuncture, P.C. v Hertz Co., 2016 NY Slip Op 50258(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2016)

This res judicata decision is interesting because it tests the outer of bounds of Judicial Notice.

“In any event, this court may take judicial notice of undisputed court records and files, including the judgment in the Supreme Court declaratory judgment action (see Renelique v State-Wide Ins. Co., ___ Misc 3d ___, 2016 NY Slip Op 50096[U] App Term, 2d Dept, 2d, 11th & [*2]13th Jud Dists 2016]; see also Kingsbrook Jewish Med. Ctr. v Allstate Ins. Co., 61 AD3d 13 [2009]; Matter of Khatibi v Weill, 8 AD3d 485 [2004]; Matter of Allen v Strough, 301 AD2d 11 [2002]). In light of the Supreme Court’s declaratory judgment, defendant’s cross motion to dismiss should have been granted under the doctrine of res judicata”

The Court uses the word “may”.  May requires a request in your papers?

A CPLR 3101 lesson

Cruz v City of New York, 2015 NY Slip Op 07910 (1st Dept, 2015)

This one is interesting.  The usual notion is that the failure to identify a witness pre-trial will preclude their ability to testify.  From the Court:

“The trial court properly permitted the testimony of a witness whose identity was not disclosed prior to trial. The witness was called to lay the foundation for the admission of a nonparty witness’s statement, and he was not the type of witness whose identity was required to be disclosed during discovery”

“The trial court also properly admitted the statement as a prior inconsistent statement. While the nonparty witness, who initially testified that the signature on the statement looked like hers, ultimately denied signing the statement, defendant was permitted to “introduce proof” to the contrary (see CPLR 4514; Larkin v Nassau Elec. R.R. Co., 205 NY 267, 270 [1912]). Further, the statement was properly admitted, even though it was not provided in discovery, as there is no indication in the record that production of the statement was sought and refused (compare Bivona v Trump Mar. Casino Hotel Resort, 11 AD3d 574, 575 [2d Dept 2004] [noting that the defendants’ failure to provide requested information in their possession would preclude them from later offering proof regarding that information at trial]). Nor is there any indication that plaintiff requested a jury charge that the statement was to be considered only for impeachment purposes. Thus, plaintiff failed to preserve her argument that the trial court erred in not giving that charge to the jury (see Peguero v 601 Realty Corp., 58 AD3d 556, 560 [1st Dept 2009]).”

If the statement or evidence is not in your possession, then you cannot be penalized failing to produce the statement pretrial.  This case really drives home that lesson

Sanctions and a very annoyed court

I guess when you write many briefs, you forgot to change your template to accord your legal arguments to the actual facts.

Ultimate Health Prods., Inc. v MVAIC, 2015 NY Slip Op 51446(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“ORDERED that, on the court’s own motion, counsel for the respective parties are directed to show cause why an order should or should not be made and entered imposing such sanctions and costs, if any, against plaintiff’s counsel pursuant to Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR) § 130-1.1 (c) as this court may deem appropriate”

“To the extent Defendant proffered a purported police report, within Exhibit G’ to its motion, same was inadmissible. In particular, the document was not certified. Moreover, Defendant did not proffer an affidavit to set forth a foundation for its admissibility, authenticity or accuracy.”  NOT TRUE – It was certified

“Moreover, the appellant’s brief further asserts that the transcript of the examination under oath of plaintiff’s assignor did not demonstrate the existence of potential insurance coverage because it was not in admissible form as it was “unsigned and unsworn.” In fact, the transcript states, at the beginning and at the end, directly above the court reporter’s signature, that plaintiff’s assignor was duly sworn by a notary public.”

“Accordingly, we direct counsel for the respective parties to show cause why sanctions should or should not be imposed against plaintiff’s counsel”

My guess: $500.00

T & J Chiropractic, P.C. v MVAIC, 2015 NY Slip Op 51445(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“ORDERED that, on the court’s own motion, counsel for the respective parties are directed to show cause why an order should or should not be made and entered imposing such sanctions and costs, if any, against plaintiff’s counsel pursuant to Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR) § 130-1.1 (c) as this court may deem appropriate,”

Counsel for plaintiff asserts in the appellant’s brief submitted to this court that “To the extent Defendant proffered a purported police report, within Exhibit F’ to its motion, same was inadmissible. In particular, the document was not certified. Moreover, Defendant did not proffer an affidavit to set forth a foundation for its admissibility, authenticity or accuracy.”  NOT TRUE – it was certified

My guess: $500.00.

 

The Reply that introduced a proper reply was itself proper

SAL Med., P.C. v Clarendon Natl. Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51449(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“The defect in one of the peer review reports submitted by defendant with its original motion papers, in that it did not bear a signature, was properly and timely remedied when the identical peer review report, this time bearing a signature, was submitted by defendant in its reply papers, and there is no indication that plaintiff was prejudiced in opposing defendant’s motion by this defect in form”

Unsworn letters not enough

Innovative MR Imaging, P.C. v Praetorian Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51402(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2015)

“In opposition to defendant’s motion, plaintiff submitted two letters of medical necessity. However, as neither letter of medical necessity was sworn or even signed, they were of no probative value (see Rivers v Birnbaum, 102 AD3d 26, 45 [2012]). As a result, defendant’s prima facie showing that the services were not medically necessary was unrebutted by plaintiff.”

Civil judgments cannot be used to question a party’s credibility

Quiroz v Zottola, 2015 NY Slip Op 04627 (2d Dept. 2015)

“Moreover, the trial court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in limiting the cross-examination of Zottola. The court properly limited the plaintiffs’ cross-examination of Zottola regarding his prior employment and negative credit history, due to the collateral nature of these issues (see Badr v Hogan, 75 NY2d 629, 635; Parsons v 218 E. Main St. Corp., 1 AD3d 420). We also note that, with respect to Zottola’s credit history, “civil judgments cannot be characterized as bad or immoral . . . acts involving moral turpitude that would allow them to be used to question the defendant’s credibility” (People v Heiss, 221 AD2d 562, 563).”