The motion to dismiss

Hutchins v Palmer, 2019 NY Slip Op 07570 (2d Dept. 2019)

“Furthermore, the defendants’ motion could not be defeated or rendered academic by filing an amended pleading. “[A] motion to dismiss which is addressed to the merits may not be defeated by an amended pleading,” and a motion to dismiss an action as time-barred is clearly addressed to the merits (Livadiotakis v Tzitzikalakis, 302 AD2d 369, 370; see Terrano v Fine, 17 AD3d 449). Thus, the plaintiffs ignored the defendants’ motion at their own peril.”

This is a case that needs to be understood. Most people believe that an amended complaint will end the motion to dismiss. Not necessarily.

Procedural irregularity

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Merino, 2019 NY Slip Op 04655 (1st Dept. 2019)

“While defendant, who was initially pro se, raised the defense of plaintiff’s noncompliance with the strict requirements of RPAPL 1304 90-day pre-foreclosure notices in her answer, she did not raise it in her opposition to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, which was subsequently granted. This does not preclude her, however, from raising plaintiff’s noncompliance prior to entry of judgment of foreclosure and sale (Emigrant, 142 AD3d at 755-756).

Plaintiff failed to establish strict compliance with RPAPL 1304, a condition precedent to the commencement of a foreclosure action (see HSBC Bank USA v Rice, 155 AD3d 443 [1st Dept 2017]). The affidavits submitted by plaintiff failed to demonstrate a familiarity with plaintiff’s mailing practices and procedures (HSBC Bank, 155 AD3d at 444), and they did not suffice as affidavits of service.”

This one is interesting. In one instance, Plaintiff received summary judgment. And after obtaining summary judgment, the defendant move to dismiss based upon violation of RPAPL 1304. Head scratching

Watch out for text degradation

Global Liberty Ins. Co. v Tyrell, 2019 NY Slip Op 03691 (1st Dept. 2019)

This case was the result of the system crunching large pdf’s into smaller files to free up more space on my hard drive. I am not even kidding. We were not even aware of the text degradation until it was raised in opposition. The natural reaction is to put in better copies; but apparently, you need an affidavit explaining that the better copies were the ones sent to the Defendant. New rule here and I will remember. Not even sure that specific argument was raised but practice tip out there – if you wish to clarify you submission in Reply, get an affidavit briefly explaining what happened. Perhaps shame on me here.

Supreme Court accepted the clear letters in reply but found a mailing issue. It is a fair guess that the Appellate Division accepted the mailing and non-appearance issue, but relied on a hyper-technical issue to affirm the lower court’s order. I can live with this.

What was really good though (and I am quite thankful) is the Court found the wrong caption/ no caption argument to lack merit. This argument has picked up steam in Civil Kings, and it is nice to see it has finally died. Well it will not die but it has been judicially found to lack merit. Thus, the App Term and Article 75 courts will likely not find merit in this argument.

Subpoenas

Matter of Global Liberty Ins. Co. v Perez, 2019 NY Slip Op 00548 (2d Dept. 2019)

” Order, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Fernando Tapia, J.), entered July 6, 2018, which denied petitioner Global Liberty Insurance Company’s (Global Liberty) motion, pursuant to CPLR 4404(b), to set aside a prior order (same court and Justice), entered on or about July 12, 2017, denying Global Liberty’s motion for a continuance of the framed-issue hearing after the two witnesses subpoenaed by Global Liberty failed to appear, and dismissing the petition on the ground that Global Liberty failed to present any witnesses or other evidence, unanimously reversed, on the law and the facts, without costs, the CPLR 4404(b) motion granted, the July 12, 2017 order vacated, Global Liberty’s continuance granted, and the court is directed to reschedule the framed issue hearing after Global Liberty has an opportunity to seek to enforce the subpoenas. “

(1) “Here, there is no evidence that petitioner Global Liberty was dilatory in issuing subpoenas to the officer who responded to the scene or to respondent Nestor Ruben Perez, neither of whom appeared at the framed issue hearing. Nor is there any evidence that petitioner was in any way responsible for these witnesses’ failure to appear. The issue about which they would testify, i.e., whether the vehicle involved in the accident, which fled the scene, was a 2003 Subaru or a 2005 Chevrolet, is central to the issue of whether that vehicle was stolen or was driven by Flores’s ex-husband who reported it stolen. “

(2) ” Moreover, while Flores and GEICO claim prejudice on the ground that Flores’s ex-husband has left the country, Global Liberty has made it clear that it would consent to having him testify by electronic means (cf. Yu Hui Chen v Chen Li Zhi, 109 AD3d 815 [2d Dept 2013]), a concession not addressed by Flores and GEICO or the court below. “

This case involved a possibly altered police report and a specious claim that the adverse vehicle was stolen. We just wanted a fair hearing, which we were denied. That said, we gave the IAS judge an opportunity under 4404(b) to follow the law. Deaf ears, closed doors and an ensuing trip to the Appellate Division.

Delay?

Sunrise Acupuncture PC v Global Liberty Ins. Co. of N.Y., 2018 NY Slip Op 51887(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2018)

“The trial court properly denied defendant-insurer’s belated attempt to invoke the primary jurisdiction of the Workers’ Compensation Board [WCB] in these consolidated first-party no-fault actions. Other than asserting the workers’ compensation statute as one of eighteen affirmative defenses in its respective May 2011 answers, defendant did not otherwise raise or pursue the workers’ compensation issue during the course of the litigation, and indeed, only raised the issue at trial, nearly seven years later. Under these particular circumstances, defendant “may not, at this belated juncture, invoke the primary jurisdiction of the WCB as a means of further delaying the litigation” (Sangare v Edwards, 91 AD3d 513, 515 [2012]; see Ovenseri v St. Barnabas Hosp., 94 AD3d 495 [2012];Bastidas v Epic Realty, LLC, 58 AD3d 776, 777 [2009]).

Defendant voluntarily adjourned this case for seven years?  Do you believe that?   The”winning” argument was not preserved on the trial  record.   The Bronx no-fault part is what does this, not any of the defendants.  When you have one judge hearing cases for 1.5 hours a day, this is the end result.

I am disappointed.

202.48 – settle an order

Solomon v Burden, 2018 NY Slip Op 07480 (2d Dept. 2018)

I have always been intrigued, interested or mystified by how the Courts have treated the 60-day rule to settle or submit an order.  This case from today adds more questions than answers to the overall calculus.  I seem to remember the same analysis applied to CPLR 3212(b) pre-Brill.

“Here, under the particular facts of this case, the interests of justice dictate that the court not be burdened with a trial where liability is certain. To hold otherwise would be contrary to the intent of 22 NYCRR 202.48 and would lead to a waste of judicial resources (see Russo v City of New York, 206 AD2d 355, 356). Accordingly, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in granting that branch of the plaintiffs’ motion which was, in effect, to extend their time to submit an order of reference.”

An unsigned OSC on appeal – procedure.

Gluck v Hirsch, 2018 NY Slip Op 05828 (2d Dept. 2018)

“After oral argument, the court declined to sign the proposed order to show cause, with a handwritten notation that the Hirsches failed to demonstrate a meritorious defense to the action and that the Hirsches failed to submit proof of misconduct by the plaintiff’s attorney.

By decision and order on motion dated December 22, 2015, this Court granted the Hirsches 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 premises pending the hearing and determination of the appeal (see Gluck v Hirsch, 2015 NY Slip Op 94403[U]).

“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]). Whether the circumstances constitute a “proper case” for the use of an order to show cause instead of a notice of motion is a matter within the discretion of the court to which the proposed order is presented (see [*2]Siegel, NY Prac § 248 [5th ed, 2011]). Here, under the particular circumstances of this case, this was a proper case for the use of an order to show cause, and the Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in declining to sign the proposed order to show cause (see Matter of Georghakis v Matarazzo, 123 AD3d 711, 711).”

I post this because generally, the remedy for an unsigned OSC is to bring the application to the Appellate Division (CPLR 5704[a]) or Appellate Term (CPLR 5704[b]).  Here, because the Court ruled on the merits of the OSC without any responsive papers, the declined OSC became an order on motion not on notice, requiring leave.

Procedure.

New evidence used in reply – an angry court appears

Matter of Hereford Ins. Co. v Vazquez,  2018 NY Slip Op 00909 (1st Dept. 2018)

“In reply, Hereford submitted documents demonstrating that the Mercedes had been sold to Lyons three days before the accident, and insured by State Farm under the same policy number previously identified, effective the same date.

Absent any surprise or prejudice to State Farm, which was aware that Hereford alleged that it had insured the Mercedes under a specified policy and which did not seek to submit a surreply, the motion court providently exercised its discretion in considering the documents submitted by Hereford in reply (see Matter of Kennelly v Mobius Realty Holdings, LLC, 33 AD3d 380, 381-382 [1st Dept 2006]; Kelsol Diamond Co. v Stuart Lerner, Inc., 286 AD2d 586, 587 [1st Dept 2001]; Jones v Geoghan, 61 AD3d 638, 640 [2d Dept 2009]). Notably, Hereford could have sought leave to amend the petition based on the same documents, leading to the same outcome (see Matter of Allcity Ins. Co. [Russo], 199 AD2d 88 [1st Dept 1993]; see also Matter of Government Empls. Ins. Co. v Albino, 91 AD3d 870, 871 [2d Dept 2012]).

Since Hereford met its burden of showing “sufficient evidentiary facts” to establish a “genuine preliminary issue” justifying the stay, the motion court properly stayed arbitration [*2]pending a trial of the threshold issue of coverage”

This is the definition of the “I got you appeal” because you missed something in your moving papers that were remedied in your reply papers which the movant knew about.  On a more wholesale level, this type of case bespeaks how uncivilized the practice of law has become.  It has become more about trying to hurt your opponent on procedural niceties (thereby winning) than resolving cases on the merits.  As people, we should evolve.  I was going through an opp that violated 2106 a few months ago.  you know what I did?  Emailed the plaintiff and told him to fix it.

I am sad the carrier is going to pay counsel for this appeal or even allowed this appeal to go forward.  Hereford is not an evil or malicious carrier.  Anyway, this type of win at all costs brought us Unitrin v. NY Medical.  Same firm on both cases – anomaly?  Karma has a way of catching up with us.

 

 

Motion to dismiss not dispositive of summary judgment application

Alvarado v City of New York, 2017 NY Slip Op 03890 (1st Dept. 2017)

“As plaintiff now concedes, this Court’s decision on a prior appeal, denying defendants’ motion to dismiss (see Alvarado v City of New York, 60 AD3d 427 [1st Dept 2009]), is not dispositive of the instant motion, as “[t]he law of the case doctrine is inapplicable where, as here, a summary judgment motion follows a motion to dismiss'” (191 Chrystie LLC v Ledoux, 82 AD3d 681, 682 [1st Dept 2011]).”

Another lesson that absent a 3212(g) order, a prior order from a prior application has no effect.

Intersection between collateral source hearing and no-fault

 

Having been involved in the thicket of the collateral source hearing, it can be very frustrating to obtain the information and evidence necessary to oftentimes reduce the medical and wage portion of a verdict that is being compensated through another source.

(1)

Here, contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, the Workers’ Compensation and Social Security benefits that she was receiving as a result of the 2002 accident constitute a collateral source that could potentially offset her award from this action to recover damages in connection with the 2010 accident. Both the plaintiff and her vocational rehabilitation specialist testified that the plaintiff’s benefits would have ceased if she had begun to work again. Therefore, although the

(1) “plaintiff was not receiving Workers’ Compensation and Social Security benefits as a result of the 2010 accident, under the unique circumstances of this case, those benefits constituted collateral sources that could potentially offset her award”

(2) “However, the defendants, who did not submit any documentation from the Social Security Administration and who elicited the plaintiff’s inconsistent testimony as to the amounts she was receiving per month in Social Security disability benefits, failed to establish with reasonable certainty that the plaintiff had been receiving, or would continue to receive, Social Security disability payments”

(3) “Additionally, the defendants failed to establish with reasonable certainty that they paid for some of the plaintiff’s past medical bills through no-fault insurance. At the collateral source hearing, the plaintiff testified that she had taken out a loan of approximately $60,000 to pay for some of her treatment, and that some of her treating physicians had taken liens against her. Further, the defendants offered only copies of the plaintiff’s medical bills without any testimony from an expert or no-fault insurance adjuster to explain them (see Lahren v Boehmer Transp. Corp., 49 AD3d 1186, 1188). This evidence was insufficient to establish with reasonable certainty which portions, if any, of the plaintiff’s bills the defendants had paid”

Here, the Defendant’s failed to obtain the SSD records and therefore could not reduce past wages.  More problematic, Defendant failed to subpoena that no-fault carrier in order to obtain the proofs necessary to show the portions of the past medical billings that were paid or should have been paid under the PIP policy.

The issue in collateral source hearings is that you are attempting to obtain evidence, never received in disclosure after you got the hell beaten out of you at trial.  In addition, you need to prove the issue through clear and convincing evidence.  Not an easy task.