Did his veteran status influence this decision?

People v Rogers, 2017 NY Slip Op 07889 (3d Dept, 2017)

(1) Defendant, an army veteran, admitted to unlawfully entering a residence and taking a bottle of wine, claiming that he heard a voice telling him to do so. Following his arrest, he waived indictment and agreed to be prosecuted by a superior court information charging him with attempted burglary in the third degree. He pleaded guilty to this crime and waived his right to appeal, both orally and in writing. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he was to be sentenced to 1⅓ to 4 years in prison; however, if he successfully completed the alternative treatment

(2)  Significantly, defendant acknowledged during the plea colloquy that he had mental health problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder that caused him to experience hallucinations, that he heard a voice telling him to commit the crime at issue and that he was taking multiple medications, including Zoloft, to address his mental health problems. Although County Court observed that defendant appeared coherent and responsive during the plea proceedings, it did not ascertain if he was aware that a possible defense, emanating from his mental state at the time that he committed the crime, was available and that he was waiving it by pleading guilty. Inasmuch as an essential element of attempted burglary in the third degree is the intent to commit a crime inside a building that one has unlawfully entered (see Penal Law § 140.20), and defendant’s mental state potentially negated such intent, County Court should have conducted a further inquiry before accepting defendant’s guilty plea (see People v Mox, 20 NY3d 936, 938-939 [2012]; People v Green, 141 AD3d at 838-839; People v Wolcott, 27 AD3d 774, 775-776 [2006]). Accordingly, under the circumstances presented, we find that the guilty plea was not knowing, voluntary and intelligent and must be vacated. In view of our disposition, we need not address defendant’s remaining claim.

** I post this because judges are humans and sometimes they make blatant value judgments.  Take away the veteran status, and the felon conviction is affirmed.  I am not saying this is wrong, but it does not get more blatant than this.  I would have voted with the majority, if that means anything.

Repriced CPT Code 64550

Compas Med., P.C. v 21st Century Ins. Co., 2017 NY Slip Op 51228(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2017)

“Contrary to plaintiff’s further argument, defendant’s proof was sufficient to demonstrate, prima facie, that defendant had fully paid for the services charged under code 64550 of the workers’ compensation fee schedule”

I am sure the carrier repriced 64550 to 97014.  The Court held, with an affidavit, the repricing was proper.

Arrest warrant not issued

Cadlerock Joint Venture, L.P. v Forde, 2017 NY Slip Op 05416 (2d Dept. 2017)

“Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying the plaintiff’s motion pursuant to CPLR 2308(a), in effect, for the issuance of a warrant of arrest to bring the defendant before the Supreme Court, upon his alleged failure to comply with a postjudgment judicial subpoena duces tecum dated October 23, 2013, and an order of contempt of that court dated March 6, 2014 (see Rackowicz v Feldman, 22 AD3d 553, 553-554). CPLR 2308(a) sets forth the penalties applicable to the disobedience of a judicial subpoena. The available penalties include the issuance of “a warrant directing a sheriff to bring the witness into court” (CPLR 2308[a]). Here, the court declined to issue such a warrant, finding that the plaintiff could avail itself of “all other remedies pursuant to the CPLR to collect” a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. We find no basis in the record to disturb that determination.”

I am clearly no fan of debtors prisons and “locking up” people who simply cannot afford to pay their debts.  Yet, when someone wilfully ignores legal process, is held in contempt of court and fails to purge or attempt to purge, why is arrest not unreasonable?  All the Court did here is insulate a certain lack of respect that the debtors-bar have to the court system.

Plaintiff is now supposed to continuously issue information subpoenas and subpoena duce tecums, while Defendant knows there is minimal penalty for not responding.  It does not seem right.

Failure to file the affidavit of service not jurisdictional

Buist v Bromley Co., LLC, 2017 NY Slip Op 04417 (2d Dept. 2017)

” The failure to file proof of service is a procedural irregularity, not a jurisdictional defect, that may be cured by motion or sua sponte by the court in its discretion'” (Matter of Meighan v Ponte, 144 AD3d 917, 918, quoting Khan v Hernandez, 122 AD3d 802, 803; see CPLR 2001, 2004). Here, there is no reason to believe that the defendants did not properly and timely serve Minard in compliance with the so-ordered stipulation dated December 8, 2014. Moreover, the defendants promptly requested permission to correct the irregularity in filing the affidavit of service after learning that it was filed in the wrong office, and there was no allegation or indication of prejudice to the plaintiff as a result of the requested correction. Under these circumstances, the Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in denying the defendants’ application for an extension of time to file the affidavit of service in the Clerk’s office, and thereupon denying their motion for summary judgment on the ground that they failed to file proof of service in that office

The reasons some Brooklyn Judges will come up with to avoid deciding a motion

The plight of Chimps

Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v Lavery,  2017 NY Slip Op 04574 (1st Dept. 2017)

(1) “The gravamen of petitioner’s argument that chimpanzees are entitled to habeas relief is that the human-like characteristics of chimpanzees render them “persons” for purposes of CPLR article 70. This position is without legal support or legal precedent.”

(2) “The asserted cognitive and linguistic capabilities of chimpanzees do not translate to a chimpanzee’s capacity or ability, like humans, to bear legal duties, or to be held legally accountable for their actions. Petitioner does not suggest that any chimpanzee charged with a crime in New York could be deemed fit to proceed, i.e., to have the “capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense”

(3) “While petitioner’s avowed mission is certainly laudable, the according of any fundamental legal rights to animals, including entitlement to habeas relief, is an issue better suited to the legislative process”

Wrong subdivision in traffic ticket still actionable

People v Husain (Shanzeb), 2017 NY Slip Op 27195 (App. Term 2d Dept. 2017)

“It has been held that where an information charges a violation of the wrong section of a statute, this may be disregarded as surplusage if the information fully advises the defendant of the acts relied upon to constitute the alleged violation, and if the acts charged are clearly referable to the offense of which the defendant has been convicted. . . . All that is necessary is that the information shall state the crime charged with such accuracy that the defendant may know the [*2]offense which it is claimed he has committed” (People v Love, 306 NY 18, 23 [1953]). Further, as a general rule, “misnomers” in designating the offense charged are not jurisdictional and may be corrected by amendment”

Every client will tell you that the “traffic ticket has an error” and it must be dismissed.  Tell the client: not necessarily.

Party does not have a basis to use CPLR 321(c) as a sword against now unrepresented party

Lion Button Co. v Jachs NY, LLC, 2017 NY Slip Op 50773(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2017)

(1) ” Under the terms of the stipulation, defendant agreed to pay plaintiff $1,100 by a date certain in settlement of the action, failing which plaintiff would give defendant written notice of its default, whereupon defendant would have seven days to cure its default. In the event that defendant failed to cure its default, plaintiff would be entitled to enter judgment against defendant for the full amount demanded in the complaint, plus interest, costs and disbursements. Four days before the stipulated payment due date, plaintiff moved to vacate the stipulation of settlement and to restore the matter to the trial calendar, on the ground that defendant, which is a limited liability company, had not been represented by counsel when it had entered into the stipulation of settlement.”

(2) “We do not consider plaintiff’s argument, made for the first time on appeal, that, under CPLR 321 (c), the action should automatically have been stayed following the death of defendant’s attorney, and that the stipulation the parties entered into was therefore a nullity, since the purpose of CPLR 321 (c) is to protect a litigant who has been deprived of counsel through no fault of his own (see Moray v Koven & Krause, Esqs., 15 NY3d 384, 389 [2010]), and not to be used, after the fact, as a sword by a litigant which was not even potentially prejudiced by its adversary’s lack of counsel.

Sometimes, we see arguments made regarding CPLR 321(c) when there is a wholesale change in counsel.  The Court’s viewpoint is that CPLR 321(c) is not to be used as a sword against an unrepresented party.

DMV license suspensions upheld – Deference

Matter of Acevedo v New York State Dept. of Motor Vehs., 2017 NY Slip Op 03690 (2017)

Upon a conviction for a violation of Section 1192 of the VTL, the statute requires certain periods of revocation. The periods of revocation increase based upon the amount of prior Convictions.  But, the statute is self explanatory and sets forth a Legislative prerogative as to the nature and extend of license revocation for a violation of VTL 1192.

The Executive branch, upon application of VTL 510(1), promulgated regulations that at first blush, second blush and third blush conflict with the VTL with regard to license revocations,

According to the Court: “The Appellate Division panels determined that DMV did not exceed its regulatory authority because “it did not act on its own ideas of public policy, but rather implemented the Legislature’s policies of promoting highway safety” (Acevedo, 132 AD3d at 119), and because the Regulations represented “an appropriate discretionary determination by the Commissioner” (Carney, 133 AD3d at 1152-1153). The court also held that the Regulations do not conflict with the Vehicle and Traffic Law, and that they were not impermissibly applied retroactively to petitioners’ applications.”

But at the end of the day, the Court did held that the broad powers of the DMV allow regulations to be drafted that conflict with the VTL.

The analogy here is that the Court of Appeals has held that DFS opinion letters, even if they conflict with the Ins. Law or Ins. Dept. regulations, will be given complete deference.  Acevedo could stand for the proposition that Ins. Dept regulations that conflict with the Ins. Law could still be enforceable.  It is interesting.

MVAIC issues

No timely notice of claim or leave to file a late notice of  claim

SML Acupuncture P.C. v MVAIC, 2017 NY Slip Op 50539(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2017)

(1) “MVAIC’s submissions in support of its motion for summary judgment established, prima facie, that there had been no timely filing of a notice of claim and that leave had not been sought to file a late notice of claim (see Insurance Law § 5208 [a],[c]), and, thus, a condition precedent to plaintiff’s right to apply for payment of no-fault benefits from defendant had not been satisfied”

(2)  “In opposition, plaintiff failed to raise any triable issue. MVAIC’s failure to timely deny the claim does not preclude it from asserting a lack of coverage defense”

Did not notify the police within 24-hours

Karina K. Acupuncture PC v MVAIC, 2017 NY Slip Op 50537(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2017)

Defendant MVAIC demonstrated entitlement to summary judgment dismissing this action for first-party no-fault benefits, having established that plaintiff’s assignor failed to comply with the statutory requirement that notice of the accident be given “to a police, peace, or judicial officer” within 24 hours of the occurrence (Insurance Law § 5208[a][2][A]). Defendant’s submissions include the notice of intent to make claim, which does not indicate when, if at any point, the underlying accident was reported to the police, and affidavits demonstrating that repeated requests were made to the assignor for proof that the accident was reported and that the assignor never provided such proof

Omega Diagnostic Imaging, PC v MVAIC, 2017 NY Slip Op 50568(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2017)

“The documentary evidence adduced at trial established that the assignor was not a covered person entitled to no-fault benefits from MVAIC because he failed to report the accident “to a police, peace or judicial officer” within 24 hours of the occurrence (Insurance Law § 5208[a][2][A]; Canty v Motor Veh. Acc. Indem. Corp., 95 AD2d 509, 511 [1983]; Pomona Med. Diagnostics, P.C. v MVAIC, 34 Misc 3d 131[A], 2011 NY Slip Op 52347[U][App Term, 1st Dept 2011]). Indeed, twelve days after the accident, the assignor responded to a question on the notice of intention to make claim form asking “when the accident was reported to the police,” by stating “no police w[ere] called” (cf. Matter of Country Wide Ins. Co. [Russo], 201 AD2d 368, 370 [1994]). Plaintiff failed to rebut this evidence by showing that the accident was, in fact, reported to the police within 24 hours or that it “was not reasonably possible to make such a report or that it was made as soon as was reasonably possible” (see Insurance Law § 5202[a][2][B]”

These are just not easy cases when the injured person seemingly goes out of his way or her way to make life miserable for their PI attorney.

45-day rule denial not sustianed

Utopia Equip. Inc. v Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., 2017 NY Slip Op 50540(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2017)

“The affidavit of defendant’s claims adjuster failed to describe defendant’s “regular practices and procedures in retrieving, opening, and indexing its mail and in maintaining its files on existing claims” (Liriano v Eveready Ins. Co., 65 AD3d 524, 525 [2009]), and was inadequate to demonstrate that plaintiff’s bills were not timely received within the 45—day period (see SMB Med. P.C. v Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., 47 Misc 3d 146[A], 2015 NY Slip Op 50719[U] [App Term, 1st Dept 2015])”