JUST RELEASED

November Page II

I

Summaries of Recently Released Decisions to Be Included In the Next Issue of the Digest (uncorrected)

 

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CIVIL PROCEDURE.

SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE GRANTED PLAINTIFF PERMISSION TO SERVE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT AND SIMULTANEOUSLY AWARDED PLAINTIFF SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON SEVERAL CAUSES OF ACTION, THE AMENDED COMPLAINT SUPERSEDES THE ORIGINAL AND MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE FURTHER PROCEEDINGS (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined Supreme Court should not have simultaneously granted plaintiff permission to amend the complaint and granted summary judgment on several causes of action. An amended complaint supersedes the original complaint and should be answered before any further proceedings:

... Supreme Court should not have awarded the plaintiff summary judgment on the issue of liability on the first, third, and fourth causes of action in the amended complaint, while simultaneously allowing the plaintiff to serve the amended complaint ... . "When an amended complaint has been served, it supersedes the original complaint and becomes the only complaint in the case" ... . "Since an amended complaint supplants the original complaint, it would unduly prejudice a defendant if it were bound by an original answer when the original complaint has no legal effect" ... . As a result, "an amended complaint should ordinarily be followed by an answer" ... . Here, the court should not have awarded the plaintiff summary judgment on the issue of liability on the causes of action in the amended complaint before the defendant had answered the amended complaint ... . R&G Brenner Income Tax Consultants v Gilmartin, 2018 NY Slip Op 07470, Second Dept 11-7-18

CIVIL PROCEDURE (SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE GRANTED PLAINTIFF PERMISSION TO SERVE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT AND SIMULTANEOUSLY AWARDED PLAINTIFF SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON SEVERAL CAUSES OF ACTION, THE AMENDED COMPLAINT SUPERSEDES THE ORIGINAL AND MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE FURTHER PROCEEDINGS (SECOND DEPT))/AMENDED COMPLAINT (SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE GRANTED PLAINTIFF PERMISSION TO SERVE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT AND SIMULTANEOUSLY AWARDED PLAINTIFF SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON SEVERAL CAUSES OF ACTION, THE AMENDED COMPLAINT SUPERSEDES THE ORIGINAL AND MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE FURTHER PROCEEDINGS (SECOND DEPT))

CIVIL PROCEDURE, CONTRACT LAW, DEBTOR-CREDITOR.

COMPLAINT DID NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE GOODS FOR WHICH PLAINTIFF WAS SEEKING PAYMENT IN THIS BREACH OF CONTRACT ACTION AS REQUIRED BY CPLR 3016, THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY DISPUTE EACH ITEM, A GENERAL DENIAL WAS SUFFICIENT, PLAINTIFF'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in this breach of contract action should not have been granted. The criteria for a motion pursuant to CPLR 3016 (f) alleging the failure to pay for delivered goods were not met because the complaint did not sufficiently describe the goods and the prices. Therefore a general denial, as opposed to specific denials re: the items listed in the complaint, was sufficient. In addition defendant alleged the goods were not timely delivered, which is a valid defense that does not require specifically disputing each item described in the complaint:

In an action involving, inter alia, goods sold and delivered, CPLR 3016(f) permits a plaintiff to "set forth and number in his [or her] verified complaint the items of his [or her] claim and the reasonable value or agreed price of each." "To meet the requirements of CPLR 3016(f), a complaint must contain a listing of the goods or services provided, with enough detail that it may readily be examined and its correctness tested entry by entry'" ... . If the complaint meets these requirements, the defendant may not generally deny allegations of the complaint, but must, instead, specifically dispute the items on the plaintiff's list ... .

Here, the complaint failed to comply with CPLR 3016(f). The three invoices failed to state the price of each individual invoice item, or the date when each item was delivered. Although it was acknowledged that partial payment was made, the plaintiff did not specify what the partial payment was for. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant made a partial payment toward one invoice without specifying to which of the invoiced items the defendant's payment was applied ... . 

 

In any event, even assuming  CPLR 3016(f) was complied with, a general denial is sufficient where a defense to the cause of action pursuant to CPLR 3016(f) speaks to the "entirety of the parties' dealings" ... . In this case, the defense—that the plaintiff breached the contract by untimely delivering the items in the contract—goes to the entirety of the parties' dealings. Further, damages awarded on the counterclaim may offset liability for goods sold and delivered if the circumstances warrant it ... . SSG Door & Hardware, Inc. v APS Contr., Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07481, Second Dept 11-7-18

CIVIL PROCEDURE (COMPLAINT DID NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE GOODS FOR WHICH PLAINTIFF WAS SEEKING PAYMENT IN THIS BREACH OF CONTRACT ACTION AS REQUIRED BY CPLR 3016, THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY DISPUTE EACH ITEM, A GENERAL DENIAL WAS SUFFICIENT, PLAINTIFF'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/CONTRACT LAW (COMPLAINT DID NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE GOODS FOR WHICH PLAINTIFF WAS SEEKING PAYMENT IN THIS BREACH OF CONTRACT ACTION AS REQUIRED BY CPLR 3016, THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY DISPUTE EACH ITEM, A GENERAL DENIAL WAS SUFFICIENT, PLAINTIFF'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/DEBTOR-CREDITOR (BREACH OF CONTRACT, CIVIL PROCEDURE, COMPLAINT DID NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE GOODS FOR WHICH PLAINTIFF WAS SEEKING PAYMENT IN THIS BREACH OF CONTRACT ACTION AS REQUIRED BY CPLR 3016, THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY DISPUTE EACH ITEM, A GENERAL DENIAL WAS SUFFICIENT, PLAINTIFF'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/CPLR 3016 (COMPLAINT DID NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE GOODS FOR WHICH PLAINTIFF WAS SEEKING PAYMENT IN THIS BREACH OF CONTRACT ACTION AS REQUIRED BY CPLR 3016, THEREFORE DEFENDANT DID NOT HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY DISPUTE EACH ITEM, A GENERAL DENIAL WAS SUFFICIENT, PLAINTIFF'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FORECLOSURE.

COURT HAD DISCRETION TO ACCEPT A BELATED ORDER OF REFERENCE SUBMITTED AFTER THE 60-DAY DEADLINE IN 22 NYCRR 202.48 IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION, LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE DOES NOT APPLY TO A DISCRETIONARY ORDER (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined Supreme Court properly exercised its discretion to accept a belated order of reference in this foreclosure action. The court noted that the law of the case doctrine does not apply to a discretionary ruling:

In this action to foreclose a mortgage, the Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the complaint. On appeal, this Court reversed that determination ... . Thereafter, the plaintiffs moved, inter alia, for an order of reference. The Supreme Court, among other things, granted that branch of the motion and directed the plaintiffs to submit an order of reference along with certain supporting documents. The plaintiffs failed to submit the order of reference and supporting documents to the court, allegedly because the documents were lost in the mail.

 

The plaintiffs made a second motion for an order of reference. The Supreme Court denied this motion without prejudice, finding that the plaintiffs abandoned their motion for an order of reference since they failed to submit the order of reference within 60 days after the signing and filing of the order directing submission, without showing good cause for their failure, in violation of 22 NYCRR 202.48(a). The plaintiffs then moved, inter alia, in effect, to extend the time to submit an order of reference, and for an order of reference. In the order appealed from, the court granted those branches of the plaintiffs' motion, excusing the plaintiffs' failure to submit some of the supporting documents the court had directed them to provide in its earlier order.

 

" It is within the sound discretion of the court to accept a belated order or judgment for settlement'" . "Moreover, a court should not deem an action or judgment abandoned where the result would not bring the repose to court proceedings that 22 NYCRR 202.48 was designed to effectuate, and would waste judicial resources'" ... . Solomon v Burden, 2018 NY Slip Op 07480, Second Dept 11-7-18

CIVIL PROCEDURE (BELATED ORDER OR JUDGMENT FOR SETTLEMENT, COURT HAS DISCRETION TO ACCEPT A BELATED ORDER OF REFERENCE SUBMITTED AFTER THE 60-DAY DEADLINE IN 22 NYCRR 202.48 IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION, LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE DOES NOT APPLY TO A DISCRETIONARY ORDER (SECOND DEPT))/FORECLOSURE (BELATED ORDER OR JUDGMENT FOR SETTLEMENT, COURT HAS DISCRETION TO ACCEPT A BELATED ORDER OF REFERENCE SUBMITTED AFTER THE 60-DAY DEADLINE IN 22 NYCRR 202.48 IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION, LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE DOES NOT APPLY TO A DISCRETIONARY ORDER (SECOND DEPT))/22 NYCRR 202.48 (BELATED ORDER OR JUDGMENT FOR SETTLEMENT, COURT HAS DISCRETION TO ACCEPT A BELATED ORDER OF REFERENCE SUBMITTED AFTER THE 60-DAY DEADLINE IN 22 NYCRR 202.48 IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION, LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE DOES NOT APPLY TO A DISCRETIONARY ORDER (SECOND DEPT))/LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE (BELATED ORDER OR JUDGMENT FOR SETTLEMENT, COURT HAS DISCRETION TO ACCEPT A BELATED ORDER OF REFERENCE SUBMITTED AFTER THE 60-DAY DEADLINE IN 22 NYCRR 202.48 IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION, LAW OF THE CASE DOCTRINE DOES NOT APPLY TO A DISCRETIONARY ORDER (SECOND DEPT))

CIVIL PROCEDURE, LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, JUDGES.

MOTION SEEKING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE LABOR LAW 241 (6) CAUSE OF ACTION ON ONE GROUND DID NOT JUSTIFY, SUA SPONTE, SEARCHING THE RECORD AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A GROUND NOT RAISED IN THE MOTION PAPERS (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, reversing (modifying Supreme Court), determined a motion seeking summary judgment on the Labor Law 241 (6) cause of action should not have been granted on a ground not raised in the motion. Defendants alleged the Labor Law 241 (6) cause of action should be dismissed because plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. The judge, sua sponte, searched the record and granted summary judgment on a different ground:

... [T]he court erred in searching the record and granting summary judgment to plaintiff on his Labor Law § 241 (6) cause of action, and we therefore modify the order accordingly. Contrary to plaintiff's assertion, although defendants did not advance their contention before the trial court, we conclude that the contention is properly before us because defendants lacked an opportunity to raise it at any time before this appeal ... . Further, " [a] motion for summary judgment on one claim or defense does not provide a basis for searching the record and granting summary judgment on an unrelated claim or defense' " ... . Here, the only issue raised with respect to the Labor Law § 241 (6) cause of action was on defendants' motion, wherein they asserted that dismissal was warranted on the ground that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. The court therefore erred in granting summary judgment to plaintiff based on alleged violations of 12 NYCRR 23-1.7 (b) (1) (c) and 23-3.3 (c). Lord v Whelan & Curry Constr. Servs., Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07563, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CIVIL PROCEDURE (LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, MOTION SEEKING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE LABOR LAW 241 (6) CAUSE OF ACTION ON ONE GROUND DID NOT JUSTIFY, SUA SPONTE, SEARCHING THE RECORD AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A GROUND NOT RAISED IN THE MOTION PAPERS (FOURTH DEPT))/LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (CIVIL PROCEDURE, MOTION SEEKING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE LABOR LAW 241 (6) CAUSE OF ACTION ON ONE GROUND DID NOT JUSTIFY, SUA SPONTE, SEARCHING THE RECORD AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A GROUND NOT RAISED IN THE MOTION PAPERS (FOURTH DEPT))/JUDGES   (CIVIL PROCEDURE, MOTION SEEKING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE LABOR LAW 241 (6) CAUSE OF ACTION ON ONE GROUND DID NOT JUSTIFY, SUA SPONTE, SEARCHING THE RECORD AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A GROUND NOT RAISED IN THE MOTION PAPERS (FOURTH DEPT))/SUA SPONTE LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, MOTION SEEKING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE LABOR LAW 241 (6) CAUSE OF ACTION ON ONE GROUND DID NOT JUSTIFY, SUA SPONTE, SEARCHING THE RECORD AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A GROUND NOT RAISED IN THE MOTION PAPERS (FOURTH DEPT))

CONTEMPT, APPEALS, FAMILY LAW.

PLAINTIFF COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER TO POST A BOND, EVEN THOUGH THE BOND REQUIREMENT WAS LATER ELIMINATED ON APPEAL, HOWEVER PLAINTIFF PRESENTED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE BOND WHICH IS A DEFENSE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CONTEMPT (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that plaintiff father was required to comply with a court order to post a bond even though the order was modified on appeal to eliminate the bond requirement. However plaintiff provided credible evidence he was not able to obtain the required bond, which is a defense to the contempt action:

In an order dated July 19, 2013 (hereinafter the July 2013 order), the Supreme Court granted the defendant's motion to require the plaintiff to post a bond in the amount of $150,000, as security for the payment of the parties' daughter's private school tuition, to ensure his compliance with the parties' judgment of divorce. The July 2013 order was later modified by this Court, and the provision thereof requiring the plaintiff to post a bond was deleted... . However, before this Court modified the July 2013 order, the Supreme Court, in the order now appealed from, granted that branch of the defendant's motion which was to hold the plaintiff in contempt of court for failing to comply with the order by not posting the bond.

 

The order appealed from, holding the father in contempt for failing to comply with the July 2013 order by not posting a bond, is not subject to reversal based on this Court's modification of the July 2013 order by deleting the requirement that the plaintiff post a bond, as "[o]bedience to a lawful order of the court is required even if the order is thereafter held erroneous or improvidently made or granted by the court under misapprehension or mistake" ... . Moreover, this Court's modification of the July 2013 order "does not render the instant appeal academic, since a party may be adjudicated in contempt of a court mandate which is later overturned on appeal" ... .

 

Nevertheless, we reverse the order appealed from, since, in response to the defendant's showing that she was prejudiced by the plaintiff's knowing disobedience of a lawful order of the court which expressed an unequivocal mandate, the plaintiff proffered credible evidence of his inability to obtain the required bond. Inability to comply with an order is a defense to both civil and criminal contempt ... . Lueker v Lueker, 2018 NY Slip Op 07421, Second Dept 11-7-18

CONTEMPT (PLAINTIFF COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER TO POST A BOND, EVEN THOUGH THE BOND REQUIREMENT WAS LATER ELIMINATED ON APPEAL, HOWEVER PLAINTIFF PRESENTED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE BOND WHICH IS A DEFENSE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CONTEMPT (SECOND DEPT))/APPEALS (CONTEMPT, PLAINTIFF COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER TO POST A BOND, EVEN THOUGH THE BOND REQUIREMENT WAS LATER ELIMINATED ON APPEAL, HOWEVER PLAINTIFF PRESENTED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE BOND WHICH IS A DEFENSE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CONTEMPT (SECOND DEPT))/BONDS (CONTEMPT, PLAINTIFF COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER TO POST A BOND, EVEN THOUGH THE BOND REQUIREMENT WAS LATER ELIMINATED ON APPEAL, HOWEVER PLAINTIFF PRESENTED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE BOND WHICH IS A DEFENSE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CONTEMPT (SECOND DEPT))/FAMILY LAW (CONTEMPT, PLAINTIFF COULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER TO POST A BOND, EVEN THOUGH THE BOND REQUIREMENT WAS LATER ELIMINATED ON APPEAL, HOWEVER PLAINTIFF PRESENTED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE HE WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE BOND WHICH IS A DEFENSE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CONTEMPT (SECOND DEPT))

CONTRACT LAW

PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined MasterCard's motion to dismiss this equitable subrogation and unjust enrichment action by plaintiff (Jetro) stemming from the the alleged hacking or attempted hacking of MasterCard credit card information from Jetro computer systems was properly granted. MasterCard has a contract with PNC, a bank, which provided that MasterCard could recover assessments against PNC because of the hacking. Jetro was required to indemnify PNC for those assessments and sued MasterCard to recover the payments. There was no contract between MasterCard and Jetro, so the only possible viable causes of action were equitable subrogation, money had and received and unjust enrichment, which were rejected because of the terms of the relevant contracts:

Pursuant to the doctrine of equitable subrogation, where the " property of one person is used in discharging an obligation owed by another or a lien upon the property of another, under such circumstances that the other would be unjustly enriched by the retention of the benefit thus conferred, the former is entitled to be subrogated to the position of the obligee or lien-holder'" ... .

 

Here, Jetro's indemnification obligation, set forth in its contract with PNC, was based on Jetro's own "acts or omissions" relating to a data breach incident. The indemnification clause in the PNC-Jetro contract is broader than the obligation of PNC toward MasterCard with respect to data breaches. According to the complaint, the PNC-Jetro contract obligated Jetro to indemnify PNC for any penalties imposed by MasterCard, "even in cases when MasterCard violated the Standards or otherwise violated the law by imposing the assessment[s] in question." In light of these contractual provisions, even accepting the allegations of the complaint as true ... , in undertaking to indemnify PNC, Jetro satisfied its separate and distinct obligation to PNC, and it is not equitably subrogated to the rights of PNC as against MasterCard ... . ...

"The essential elements of a cause of action for money had and received are (1) the defendant received money belonging to the plaintiff, (2) the defendant benefitted from receipt of the money, and (3) under principles of equity and good conscience, the defendant should not be permitted to keep the money" ... . " The elements of a cause of action to recover for unjust enrichment are (1) the defendant was enriched, (2) at the plaintiff's expense, and (3) that it is against equity and good conscience to permit the defendant to retain what is sought to be recovered'" ... .

 

Here, the subject penalties were collected or retained by MasterCard pursuant to its contract with PNC, which then sought indemnification from Jetro pursuant to PNC's separate contract with Jetro. We agree with the Supreme Court that the exercise by MasterCard of its purported contractual rights against PNC was independent of the determination by PNC to enforce its indemnification rights against Jetro. Therefore, it cannot be said that MasterCard unjustly benefitted from its action, or that it would be inequitable to allow it to retain the subject funds ... . Jetro Holdings, LLC v MasterCard Intl., Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07418, Second Dept 11-7-18

CONTRACT LAW (PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/EQUITABLE SUBROGATION (PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED  (PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/UNJUST ENRICHMENT (PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/CREDIT CARDS (PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/HACKING (CREDIT CARDS, PLAINTIFF RETAILER ATTEMPTED TO RECOVER PAYMENTS MADE TO A BANK STEMMING FROM THE HACKING OF MASTERCARD CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM THE RETAILER'S ACCOUNTS UNDER EQUITABLE SUBROGATION, MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED AND UNJUST ENRICHMENT THEORIES, COMPLAINT PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))

CONVERSION, CIVIL PROCEDURE.

PLAINTIFF ENTITLED TO PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN THIS CONVERSION ACTION (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to interest at the statutory rate based on the value of the property at the time and place of conversion:

On a prior appeal in this action, this Court awarded summary judgment to the plaintiff, inter alia, on the cause of action to recover damages for conversion in the sum of $69,500, representing the amount of estate funds that were wrongfully converted by the defendant Rick Barrett. The Supreme Court subsequently entered an amended judgment that awarded the plaintiff the sum of $69,500 but failed to award prejudgment interest at the statutory rate of 9% per annum on that sum. The plaintiff appeals from so much of the amended judgment as failed to award prejudgment interest at the statutory rate on the $69,500 damages award.

 

"The usual measure of damages for conversion is the value of the property at the time and place of conversion, plus interest" ... . Indeed, CPLR 5001(a) provides for the award of prejudgment interest upon sums awarded for the deprivation of or interference with another's property, and relevant case law clearly establishes that such interest is properly awarded as part of the recovery on a cause of action sounding in conversion ... . Moreover, interest is to be awarded at the statutory rate of 9% per annum ... . Scotti v Barrett, 2018 NY Slip Op 07477, Second Dept 11-7-18

CONVERSION (PLAINTIFF ENTITLED TO PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN THIS CONVERSION ACTION (SECOND DEPT))/INTEREST (CONVERSION, PLAINTIFF ENTITLED TO PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN THIS CONVERSION ACTION (SECOND DEPT))/CPLR 5001 (PLAINTIFF ENTITLED TO PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AT THE STATUTORY RATE IN THIS CONVERSION ACTION (SECOND DEPT)

CRIMINAL LAW.

DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, over a two-justice dissent, determined that Supreme Court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to sentence youthful offender treatment. The majority deemed the 35 year sentence excessive and directed that the sentences be served concurrently. The dissenters argued that the sentences were not excessive:

CPL 720.10 (3) provides that "a youth who has been convicted of an armed felony offense . . . is an eligible youth if the court determines that one or more of the following factors exist: (i) mitigating circumstances that bear directly upon the manner in which the crime was committed; or (ii) where the defendant was not the sole participant in the crime, the defendant's participation was relatively minor although not so minor as to constitute a defense to the prosecution." Contrary to defendant's contention, "traditional sentencing factors, such as the criminal's age, background and criminal history, are not appropriate to the mitigating circumstances analysis . . . Rather, the court must rely only on factors related to the defendant's conduct in committing the crime, such as a lack of injury to others or evidence that the defendant did not display a weapon during the crime"... , or other factors that are directly related to the crime of which defendant was convicted ... . Here, we perceive no basis to disturb the court's determination that defendant is not an eligible youth because, in the first crime of which he was convicted, "defendant carried a gun to an encounter with known gang members, displayed the gun, . . . and . . . fired a shot that struck one of the" gang members... , and he was again armed with a loaded weapon when he was arrested several weeks later. ...

The victim in this case is a rival gang member who attempted to rob members of defendant's gang. Defendant arrived at the scene of the attempted robbery and shot at the victim, who was struck by a bullet but survived. Defendant obviously deserves a stern sentence but, in our view, 35 years is too severe. Indeed, the maximum punishment for intentional murder is 25 years to life ... . Defendant has no prior criminal record (he was adjudicated a youthful offender on a misdemeanor), he was only 18 years old when he committed the crimes, and the People offered him a 20-year sentence prior to trial as part of a plea bargain. Under the circumstances, and considering that the victim was attempting to commit an armed robbery when he was shot, we conclude that defendant's sentence is unduly harsh and severe. People v Jones, 2018 NY Slip Op 07556, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT))/YOUTHFUL OFFENDER DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT))/SENTENCING (HARSH AND EXCESSIVE, DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT))/YOUTHFUL OFFENDER DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT))/HARSH AND EXCESSIVE SENTENCE (DENIAL OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDER TREATMENT WAS NOT AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION, 35-YEAR SENTENCE WAS HARSH AND EXCESSIVE (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW.

PEOPLE DID NOT PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT RACE-NEUTRAL REASON FOR STRIKING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN JUROR, CONVICTION REVERSED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, reversing defendant's conviction, determined that the People did not provide a sufficient race-neutral reason for striking an African-American juror. The case had been remitted for a hearing on the issue:

We agree with defendant that the People failed to meet their burden at step two of the Batson analysis to articulate a "race-neutral reason" for striking the prospective juror ... . On remittal, the prosecutor testified that he did not remember his reason for striking the prospective juror at issue, but stated that it had "nothing to do with race." The prosecutor testified that, instead, "there was something on [the prospective juror's] jury questionnaire . . . that [he] did not particularly like," which would have provided a basis for exercising a peremptory challenge if he "could not clarify [that] issue" during voir dire. The prosecutor, however, had no recollection of the subject prospective juror's actual questionnaire, which, apparently, was not preserved.

 

We conclude that the prosecutor's articulated reason for striking the only African-American prospective juror was insufficient to satisfy the People's burden. As noted, the prosecutor could not recall a specific reason for striking the prospective juror, but rather assured the court in a conclusory fashion that the challenge was not based on race and was based, instead, on "something" in the prospective juror's questionnaire. Thus, the prosecutor's explanation "amounted to little more than a denial of discriminatory purpose and a general assertion of good faith" ... . Where, as here, "the facts establish, prima facie, purposeful discrimination and the prosecutor does not come forward with a neutral explanation for his action, . . . precedents require that [defendant's] conviction be reversed" ... . People v Davis, 2018 NY Slip Op 07569, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (PEOPLE DID NOT PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT RACE-NEUTRAL REASON FOR STRIKING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN JUROR, CONVICTION REVERSED (FOURTH DEPT))/JURORS (CRIMINAL LAW, PEOPLE DID NOT PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT RACE-NEUTRAL REASON FOR STRIKING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN JUROR, CONVICTION REVERSED (FOURTH DEPT))/BATSON CHALLENGE (CRIMINAL LAW, JURORS, PEOPLE DID NOT PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT RACE-NEUTRAL REASON FOR STRIKING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN JUROR, CONVICTION REVERSED (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW.

DEFENDANT WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION ASPECT OF HIS SENTENCE, PLEA VACATED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department vacated defendant's guilty plea because he was not informed of the postrelease supervision aspect of the sentence:

On appeal from a judgment convicting him upon his plea of guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree ..., defendant contends that reversal of the judgment and vacatur of the plea are required because County Court failed to advise him, at the time of the plea, of the period of postrelease supervision that would be imposed at sentencing. We agree ... . People v Hemingway, 2018 NY Slip Op 07587, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (DEFENDANT WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION ASPECT OF HIS SENTENCE, PLEA VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/SENTENCING (DEFENDANT WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION ASPECT OF HIS SENTENCE, PLEA VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/GUILTY PLEA  (DEFENDANT WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION ASPECT OF HIS SENTENCE, PLEA VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))/POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION (DEFENDANT WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE POSTRELEASE SUPERVISION ASPECT OF HIS SENTENCE, PLEA VACATED (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, APPEALS.

DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENTENCED AS A SECOND FELONY OFFENDER BECAUSE THE PENNSYLVANIA BURGLARY WAS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEW YORK FELONY, ALTHOUGH THE ERROR WAS NOT PRESERVED THE ISSUE WAS CONSIDERED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined, in the interest of justice, that defendant should not have been sentenced as a second felony offender based upon a Pennsylvania burglary conviction:

... [T]he predicate conviction, i.e., the Pennsylvania crime of burglary (18 Pa Cons Stat § 3502), is not the equivalent of a New York felony. Although defendant failed to preserve that contention for our review ... , we exercise our power to address it as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice ... . Upon our review of Pennsylvania statutory and case law, "there is no element in the Pennsylvania statute comparable to the element in the analogous New York statute that an intruder knowingly' enter or remain unlawfully in the premises . . . [and t]he absence of this scienter requirement from the Pennsylvania burglary statute renders improper the use of the Pennsylvania burglary conviction as the basis of the defendant's predicate felony adjudication" ... . People v Funk, 2018 NY Slip Op 07558, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (SECOND FELONY OFFENDER, DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENTENCED AS A SECOND FELONY OFFENDER BECAUSE THE PENNSYLVANIA BURGLARY WAS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEW YORK FELONY, ALTHOUGH THE ERROR WAS NOT PRESERVED THE ISSUE WAS CONSIDERED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE (FOURTH DEPT))/APPEALS (CRIMINAL LAW, SECOND FELONY OFFENDER, DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENTENCED AS A SECOND FELONY OFFENDER BECAUSE THE PENNSYLVANIA BURGLARY WAS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEW YORK FELONY, ALTHOUGH THE ERROR WAS NOT PRESERVED THE ISSUE WAS CONSIDERED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE (FOURTH DEPT))/SENTENCING (SECOND FELONY OFFENDER, DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENTENCED AS A SECOND FELONY OFFENDER BECAUSE THE PENNSYLVANIA BURGLARY WAS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEW YORK FELONY, ALTHOUGH THE ERROR WAS NOT PRESERVED THE ISSUE WAS CONSIDERED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE (FOURTH DEPT))/SECOND FELONY OFFENDER (DEFENDANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENTENCED AS A SECOND FELONY OFFENDER BECAUSE THE PENNSYLVANIA BURGLARY WAS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEW YORK FELONY, ALTHOUGH THE ERROR WAS NOT PRESERVED THE ISSUE WAS CONSIDERED IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, APPEALS.

IN A CLOSE CASE THE SECOND DEPARTMENT HELD DEFENDANT VALIDLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO APPEAL, THE COMPREHENSIVE OPINIONS BY TWO CONCURRING JUSTICES AIM TO INSTRUCT TRIAL JUDGES ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID WAIVER (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Leventhal, with a concurring opinion by Justice Scheinkman (joined by all of the justices), determined that defendant validly waived his right to appeal. The comprehensive opinions aim to instruct trial judges on what is required for a valid waiver:

Although we hold that the defendant validly waived his right to appeal, precluding review of his contention that the sentence imposed was excessive, we take the opportunity to respectfully urge our trial courts to give greater attention to the colloquy used in taking a waiver of the right to appeal. * * *

The defendant answered in the affirmative when the Supreme Court asked, "Do you understand that one of the terms of this plea agreement is that you will not exercise your right to appeal." The court's phrasing served to differentiate the rights the defendant gave up by pleading guilty from the right to appeal the defendant gave up as part of this plea agreement. The defendant also answered in the affirmative when the court later asked, "By waiving your right to appeal, you will be foreclosed forever from complaining about any errors that may have occurred in this proceeding. Do you realize that?" This question provided some explanation of the nature of the right to appeal and the consequences of waiving it, and was met with an affirmative response. Additionally, the defendant acknowledged signing the written waiver form, and answered that he discussed it with his attorney before he signed it, that he understood all those discussions, that he was satisfied with those discussions, and that he signed it of his own free will. Granted, whether the appeal waiver is valid in this case presents a very close question given, inter alia, that the on-the-record explanation of the nature of the right to appeal and the consequences of waiving it was terse and included no reference to a higher court or the Appellate Division; the defendant had a limited education, having stopped attending school in the eighth grade; and he had minimal prior experience with the criminal justice system, having been adjudicated a youthful offender but not having been convicted of a felony previously. Nonetheless, the record before us, consisting of the oral colloquy and the detailed written waiver, sufficiently demonstrates that the defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to appeal. People v Batista, 2018 NY Slip Op 07445, Second Dept 11-7-18

CRIMINAL LAW (APPEALS, WAIVER, IN A CLOSE CASE THE SECOND DEPARTMENT HELD DEFENDANT VALIDLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO APPEAL, THE COMPREHENSIVE OPINIONS BY TWO CONCURRING JUSTICES AIM TO INSTRUCT TRIAL JUDGES ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID WAIVER (SECOND DEPT))/APPEALS (CRIMINAL LAW, WAIVER, IN A CLOSE CASE THE SECOND DEPARTMENT HELD DEFENDANT VALIDLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO APPEAL, THE COMPREHENSIVE OPINIONS BY TWO CONCURRING JUSTICES AIM TO INSTRUCT TRIAL JUDGES ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID WAIVER (SECOND DEPT))/WAIVER OF APPEAL (CRIMINAL LAW, IN A CLOSE CASE THE SECOND DEPARTMENT HELD DEFENDANT VALIDLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO APPEAL, THE COMPREHENSIVE OPINIONS BY TWO CONCURRING JUSTICES AIM TO INSTRUCT TRIAL JUDGES ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID WAIVER (SECOND DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, APPEALS.

DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT DURING THE PLEA ALLOCUTION RAISED A VIABLE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE WHICH REQUIRED FURTHER INQUIRY BY THE JUDGE, ERROR IS A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE PRESERVATION REQUIREMENT (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, vacating defendant's guilty plea, determined defendant's statement during the plea allocution raised a viable affirmative defense which required further inquiry by the court. The error was considered on appeal under a rare exception to the preservation requirement:

Although defendant's contention survives his valid waiver of the right to appeal ... , he failed to preserve that contention for our review inasmuch as he did not move to withdraw the plea or to vacate the judgment of conviction on that ground ... . This case nonetheless falls within the rare exception to the preservation requirement ... . Defendant made a statement during the plea allocution that raised a potentially viable affirmative defense pursuant to Penal Law § 130.10 (1), thereby "giving rise to a duty on the part of the court, before accepting the guilty plea, to ensure that defendant was aware of that defense and was knowingly and voluntarily waiving it" ... . We conclude that the court's inquiry here was insufficient to meet that obligation ... . People v Rosario, 2018 NY Slip Op 07564, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT DURING THE PLEA ALLOCUTION RAISED A VIABLE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE WHICH REQUIRED FURTHER INQUIRY BY THE JUDGE, ERROR IS A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE PRESERVATION REQUIREMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/APPEALS (PLEA ALLOCUTION, DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT DURING THE PLEA ALLOCUTION RAISED A VIABLE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE WHICH REQUIRED FURTHER INQUIRY BY THE JUDGE, ERROR IS A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE PRESERVATION REQUIREMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/PLEA ALLOCUTION (DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT DURING THE PLEA ALLOCUTION RAISED A VIABLE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE WHICH REQUIRED FURTHER INQUIRY BY THE JUDGE, ERROR IS A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE PRESERVATION REQUIREMENT (FOURTH DEPT))/GUILTY PLEA (DEFENDANT'S STATEMENT DURING THE PLEA ALLOCUTION RAISED A VIABLE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE WHICH REQUIRED FURTHER INQUIRY BY THE JUDGE, ERROR IS A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE PRESERVATION REQUIREMENT (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, ATTORNEYS, APPEALS, IMMIGRATION LAW.

DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant's motion to vacate his conviction by guilty plea should not have been denied without a hearing. Defendant alleged he was incorrectly told by his attorney that he would not be deported as a result of the plea. Defendant's papers were sufficient to raise a question whether defendant was afforded effective assistance of counsel under the federal standard (which is explained in the decision). The court noted that the claim defendant was not informed of the risk of deportation at sentencing was properly rejected because there was a sufficient record to have raised that argument on appeal:

Under the federal standard for asserting a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant "must show that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness" and "that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense" ... . Although Padilla v Kentucky (559 US 356) is inapplicable to this case because the defendant's conviction became final before Padilla was decided  ... , even prior to Padilla, the Court of Appeals had held that "inaccurate advice about a guilty plea's immigration consequences" fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, so as to satisfy the first prong of the standard set forth in Strickland [466 US 668].

 

Here, the defendant alleged that his counsel incorrectly advised him that he would not be subject to deportation as a consequence of his plea of guilty to reckless endangerment in the first degree. The defendant affirmed that he was initially offered a plea agreement that included a period of incarceration and carried the risk of deportation and, in consultation with his counsel, the defendant rejected that plea offer because of the deportation risks. It was only after a second plea offer was made, for a length of probation conditioned upon the successful completion of a program, along with the representation that such a plea would not result in the defendant's deportation, that the defendant chose to plead guilty. ...

In addition to demonstrating that defense counsel's performance was deficient, a defendant making a federal constitutional claim must also show, in order to satisfy the second prong of the Strickland standard, that there was " a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial'" ... .

 

Here, the defendant's affidavit raised sufficient questions of fact as to whether it was reasonably probable that he would not have pleaded guilty had he been correctly advised as to the deportation consequences of the plea, given the fact that the defendant had already once rejected a plea offer that was objectively favorable to him, in favor of going to trial, because of the risk of deportation, and based upon his specific affirmation that, had he known the risk of deportation, he would not have pleaded guilty ... . People v Malik, 2018 NY Slip Op 07452, Second Dept 11-7-18

CRIMINAL LAW (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))/ATTORNEYS (CRIMINAL LAW, INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))/APPEALS (CRIMINAL LAW, DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))/IMMIGRATION LAW (CRIMINAL LAW, (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))/DEPORTATION (CRIMINAL LAW, (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))/VACATE CONVICTION, MOTION TO  (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION BY GUILTY PLEA SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DENIED WITHOUT A HEARING, THE PAPERS SUFFICIENTLY RAISED THE QUESTION WHETHER DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA AND WHETHER THAT FAILURE AMOUNTED TO INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ARGUMENT THAT THE COURT FAILED TO INFORM DEFENDANT OF THE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES WAS REJECTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A SUFFICIENT RECORD TO HAVE RAISED THAT ARGUMENT ON APPEAL (SECOND DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, EVIDENCE.

AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined the vehicle stop could not be justified on the ground that the stop was made by a peace officer, and also could not be justified on the ground the stop was a citizen's arrest. Therefore the motion to suppress the firearm found in the car was properly granted. The vehicle stop was made by an agent with the US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations after the agent became concerned about the driver's dangerous operation. The agent called the Buffalo Police Department and pulled the car over using his truck's emergency lights. A police officer arrived and the officer and the agent approached the car together:

In concluding that the agent unlawfully stopped the vehicle, the [motion] court determined that the agent had the powers of a peace officer, but that the traffic stop could not be justified on that basis because the agent was not acting pursuant to his special duties or within his geographical area of employment. The court also determined that the traffic stop could not be justified as a valid citizen's arrest because the agent, who had the powers of a peace officer, activated the emergency lights and approached the stopped vehicle with the BPD officer and therefore acted under color of law and with the accouterments of official authority rather than as a private citizen. ...

A private person, however, is not authorized to display such emergency lights from his or her private vehicle... . Moreover, a private person may not falsely express by words or actions that he or she is acting with approval or authority of a public agency or department with the intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority or to otherwise cause another to act in reliance upon that pretense ... . Thus, the agent was not lawfully acting merely as a private person effectuating a citizen's arrest when he activated emergency lights that were affixed to his truck by virtue of his position in law enforcement. ...

Even if a violation of the citizen's arrest statute is not necessarily a violation of a constitutional right, we conclude that adherence to the requirements of the statute implicates the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures ... by precluding a person who "act[ed] under color of law and with all the accouterments of official authority" from justifying an unlawful search or seizure as a citizen's arrest ... , and that suppression is warranted where, as here, the purported private person is cloaked with official authority and acts with the participation and knowledge of the police in furtherance of a law enforcement objective ... . People v Page, 2018 NY Slip Op 07552, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (SUPPRESSION, PEACE OFFICER, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/EVIDENCE (CRIMINAL LAW, SUPPRESSION, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/PEACE OFFICER (VEHICLE STOP, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/CITIZEN'S ARREST (VEHICLE STOP, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/VEHICLE STOPS (PEACE OFFICER, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/TRAFFIC STOPS (PEACE OFFICER, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/STREET STOPS (PEACE OFFICER, AGENT FOR US CUSTOMS WAS NOT ACTING AS A PEACE OFFICER WHEN HE EFFECTED A VEHICLE STOP AND DID NOT EFFECT A VALID CITIZEN'S ARREST, THEREFORE THE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE FIREARM FOUND IN THE VEHICLE WAS PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, EVIDENCE.

POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined the ruling by the US Supreme Court in Riley v California (124 S Ct 2473) did not provide grounds for defendant's second and untimely motion to suppress evidence seized from a search of his cell phone pursuant to a warrant. Before applying for the warrant, at the time of arrest, a police officer sent a text to a phone number used in communications between the victim and defendant and noted that a text message arrived on defendant's phone shortly thereafter. The Fourth Department held that sending the text and observing the arrival of a text did not violate Riley:

The Riley Court determined that "officers must generally secure a warrant before conducting [a search of data stored in a cell phone]" ... . Here, the search warrant application for defendant's phone indicates, among other things, that, after defendant's arrest and the recovery of a cell phone from him during a search incident to the arrest, the applicant officer sent a text message to the phone number that had been used during earlier communications between the victim and defendant, and the officer noted that the phone recovered from defendant upon his arrest signaled the arrival of a new text message moments later. Contrary to defendant's contention, however, nothing in the warrant application supports the inference that the police opened or manipulated the phone to get inside to retrieve data prior to obtaining the search warrant. Although Riley prohibits warrantless searches of cell phones incident to a defendant's arrest, Riley does not prohibit officers from sending text messages to a defendant, making observations of a defendant's cell phone, or even manipulating the phone to some extent upon a defendant's arrest ...  Indeed, Riley provides that the search incident to arrest exception to the warrant requirement entitles law enforcement officers to "examine the physical aspects of the phone" after it has been seized ... . Inasmuch as the information included in the warrant application is not suggestive of a warrantless search of the phone, we conclude that the Supreme Court's decision in Riley did not provide good cause for defendant's untimely second suppression motion. Thus, the motion was properly denied ... 

 

Moreover, even if the officer's actions in sending a confirmatory text message to defendant's phone did constitute an unlawful search under Riley, we nevertheless conclude that the validity of the warrant to search defendant's phone was not vitiated. The police did not use the alleged illegal search " to assure themselves that there [was] cause to obtain a warrant' in the first instance" ... , and the remaining factual allegations in the warrant application provided probable cause to search the cell phone that was recovered from defendant at the time of his arrest. People v Hackett, 2018 NY Slip Op 07557, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT))/EVIDENCE (CRIMINAL LAW, CELL PHONES, POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT))/SUPPRESSION (CELL PHONES, POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT))/SEARCH AND SEIZURE (CELL PHONES, POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT))/CELL PHONES (CRIMINAL LAW, SEARCH AND SEIZURE, POLICE OFFICER'S SENDING A TEXT TO DEFENDANT'S PHONE FROM A NUMBER USED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE VICTIM, AND OBSERVING THE ARRIVAL OF A TEXT ON DEFENDANT'S PHONE SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DID NOT VIOLATE THE US SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RILEY REQUIRING A WARRANT FOR A CELL PHONE SEARCH (FOURTH DEPT))

CRIMINAL LAW, SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT (SORA), ATTORNEYS, APPEALS, CORRECTION LAW.

DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, reversing County Court, determined that defendant was entitled to a hearing on his petition seeking a downward modification of his level three Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) status because defense counsel wrote a letter to the court stating the petition did not have merit. Defendant was not afforded effective assistance of counsel. The Fourth Department noted that an appeal from the denial of a modification petition is pursuant to CPLR 5701, not CPL 450.10:

We agree with defendant that he was denied effective assistance of counsel, and we therefore reverse the order, reinstate the petition, and remit the matter to County Court for a new hearing on the petition. Defendant contended in the petition, among other things, that he was entitled to a downward modification of his risk level classification. His assigned counsel, however, wrote a letter to the court indicating that the petition lacked merit, counsel would not support the petition, and he had advised defendant to withdraw the petition so that defendant would not needlessly delay his right to file a new modification petition in two years. We conclude that defense counsel "essentially[] became a witness against [defendant] and took a position adverse to him," which denied defendant effective assistance of counsel ... . In addition, a defendant may commence a Correction Law § 168-o (2) proceeding no more than once annually ... , thus defense counsel's advice was incorrect as well as adverse to defendant's position. People v Griffith, 2018 NY Slip Op 07579, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

CRIMINAL LAW (SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT, DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))/SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT (SORA) (DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))/ATTORNEYS (CRIMINAL LAW, DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))/INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE (SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT, DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))/APPEALS (SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT, DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))/CORRECTION LAW (SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT, DEFENSE COUNSEL WROTE A LETTER TO THE COURT STATING THAT DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR A DOWNWARD MODIFICATION OF HIS SORA RISK LEVEL LACKED MERIT, WHICH CONSTITUTED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION IS PURSUANT TO CPLR 5701, NOT CPL 450.10, THE CORRECTION LAW ALLOWS SUCH A PETITION ONCE A YEAR (FOURTH DEPT))

DEFAMATION, CIVIL RIGHTS LAW, PRIVILEGE.

STATEMENTS IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT PLAINTIFF'S DIVORCE WHICH REFERRED TO PLAINTIFF'S CONVICTION STEMMING FROM A BOILER ROOM PENNY STOCK OPERATION WERE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED UNDER THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined the defamation action against a newspaper was properly dismissed. A newspaper article about plaintiff's divorce referred to plaintiff's criminal conviction stemming from a "boiler room" penny-stock operation and stating that plaintiff "tried to use his old tricks to swindle his estranged wife out of millions of dollars...". Plaintiff stock operation inspired the movie "Boiler Room:"

"Civil Rights Law § 74 is an affirmative defense to a claim of defamation" ... . That section provides that "[a] civil action cannot be maintained against any person, firm or corporation, for the publication of a fair and true report of any judicial proceeding, legislative proceeding or other official proceeding" (Civil Rights Law § 74). The privilege afforded by this statute is absolute "and is not defeated by the presence of malice or bad faith" ... . "This absolute privilege applies only where the publication is a comment on a judicial, legislative, or other official proceeding . . . and is a fair and true' report of that proceeding" ... .

 

As to the threshold requirement that the publication purport to comment on a judicial, legislative, or other official proceeding, if the context in which the statements are made makes it impossible for the ordinary viewer, listener, or reader to determine whether the defendant was reporting on a judicial or other official proceeding, the absolute privilege does not apply ... .

 

As to the requirement that the publication be a fair and true report of the official proceeding, the Court of Appeals has recognized that "newspaper accounts of legislative or other official proceedings must be accorded some degree of liberality" ... . Accordingly, "[w]hen determining whether an article constitutes a fair and true' report, the language used therein should not be dissected and analyzed with a lexicographer's precision"... . Rather, "[f]or a report to be characterized as fair and true' within the meaning of the statute, thus immunizing its publisher from a civil suit sounding in libel, it is enough that the substance of the article be substantially accurate"... .

 

Here, the subject newspaper article explicitly stated that it was describing the divorce action commenced against the plaintiff by his former wife ... . Furthermore, the defendants' documentary evidence established, as a matter of law, that the disputed language in the newspaper article was a "fair and true" report of the factual findings made in the divorce action ... . Contrary to the plaintiff's contention, "the inaccuracies cited by the plaintiff were not so egregious as to remove the article from the protection of Civil Rights Law § 74" ... . Gillings v New York Post, 2018 NY Slip Op 07413, Second Dept 11-7-18

 

DEFAMATION (STATEMENTS IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT PLAINTIFF'S DIVORCE WHICH REFERRED TO PLAINTIFF'S CONVICTION STEMMING FROM A BOILER ROOM PENNY STOCK OPERATION WERE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED UNDER THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (DEFAMATION, STATEMENTS IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT PLAINTIFF'S DIVORCE WHICH REFERRED TO PLAINTIFF'S CONVICTION STEMMING FROM A BOILER ROOM PENNY STOCK OPERATION WERE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED UNDER THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (SECOND DEPT))/PRIVILEGE (DEFAMATION, STATEMENTS IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT PLAINTIFF'S DIVORCE WHICH REFERRED TO PLAINTIFF'S CONVICTION STEMMING FROM A BOILER ROOM PENNY STOCK OPERATION WERE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED UNDER THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (SECOND DEPT))/NEWSPAPER (DEFAMATION, STATEMENTS IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ABOUT PLAINTIFF'S DIVORCE WHICH REFERRED TO PLAINTIFF'S CONVICTION STEMMING FROM A BOILER ROOM PENNY STOCK OPERATION WERE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED UNDER THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW (SECOND DEPT))

EDUCATION-SCHOOL LAW, NEGLIGENCE.

NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION ACTION AGAINST THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BUS COMPANY STEMMING FROM A FIGHT INSTIGATED BY A STUDENT ON THE BUS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the school district's and school bus company's motions for summary judgment in this negligent supervision, third party assault, case should not have been granted. A six minute fight erupted on a school bus during which the two student plaintiffs were punched by another student. The school district did not demonstrate the student's (Torres's) violence was not foreseeable, and there was evidence the school aide observed the fight but did nothing to stop it:

Schools have a duty to adequately supervise the students in their care and may be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision ... . The standard for determining whether a school has breached its duty is to compare the school's supervision and protection to that of a parent of ordinary prudence placed in the same situation and armed with the same information ... . Where the complaint alleges negligent supervision in the context of injuries caused by an individual's intentional acts, the plaintiff generally must demonstrate that the school knew or should have known of the individual's propensity to engage in such conduct, such that the individual's acts could be anticipated or were foreseeable... .

 

Here, the school defendants failed to establish, prima facie, that they had no specific knowledge or notice of Torres's propensity to engage in the misconduct alleged. In support of their motion, the school defendants submitted, inter alia, the deposition testimony of assistant principal Sharon Flynn, who testified that Torres had a disciplinary record. When asked whether Torres' prior disciplinary history involved violence, Flynn replied only, "Not that I remember." Thus, the school defendants failed to sustain their prima facie burden of establishing that they had no actual or constructive notice of Torres's propensity to engage in the misconduct alleged ... . ...

... [T]riable issues of fact also exist as to whether Torres's dangerous conduct occurred in such a short span of time that no amount of supervision by the school defendants could have prevented the infant plaintiffs' injuries ... , whether the infant plaintiffs' injuries were a foreseeable consequence of the security aide's alleged failure to respond appropriately as the events unfolded ... , and whether security personnel took "energetic steps to intervene" in the fight to stop Torres from injuring the infant plaintiff ... . Palopoli v Sewanhaka Cent. High Sch. Dist., 2018 NY Slip Op 07441, Second Dept 11-7-18

NEGLIGENCE (EDUCATION-SCHOOL LAW, NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION ACTION AGAINST THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BUS COMPANY STEMMING FROM A FIGHT INSTIGATED BY A STUDENT ON THE BUS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/EDUCATION-SCHOOL LAW (NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION ACTION AGAINST THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BUS COMPANY STEMMING FROM A FIGHT INSTIGATED BY A STUDENT ON THE BUS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))/NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION (EDUCATION-SCHOOL LAW, NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION ACTION AGAINST THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BUS COMPANY STEMMING FROM A FIGHT INSTIGATED BY A STUDENT ON THE BUS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))

FAMILY LAW.

FATHER'S PETITION TO MODIFY SUPPORT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ALTHOUGH FATHER VOLUNTARILY LEFT A BETTER PAYING JOB IN VIRGINIA, HE DID SO TO BE NEARER TO HIS SON WHO HAD MOVED WITH MOTHER TO NEW YORK FROM VIRGINIA (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, reversing Family Court, determined that, although father left his job in Virginia voluntarily, his petition to modify his support after taking a lower-paying job in New York should have been granted. Father left the better paying job to be closer to his son, who had recently moved with his mother from Virginia to New York:

"It is well settled that a loss of employment may constitute a change in circumstances justifying a downward modification of [child support] obligations where [such loss] occurred through no fault of the [party seeking modification] and the [party] has diligently sought re-employment" ... . As a general rule, a parent who voluntarily quits a job will not be deemed without fault in losing such employment... . Nevertheless, that general rule should not be inflexibly applied where a parent quits a job for a sufficiently compelling reason, such as the need to live closer to a child ... . As one court has explained, a "parent who chooses to leave his [or her] employment rather than [live] hundreds of miles away from his [or her] children is not voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Instead, he [or she] is a loving parent attempting to do the right thing for his [or her] children. To punish such a parent by requiring higher child support . . . is neither good law nor good policy" ... . Matter of Parmenter v Nash, 2018 NY Slip Op 07553, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

FAMILY LAW (SUPPORT, FATHER'S PETITION TO MODIFY SUPPORT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ALTHOUGH FATHER VOLUNTARILY LEFT A BETTER PAYING JOB IN VIRGINIA, HE DID SO TO BE NEARER TO HIS SON WHO HAD MOVED WITH MOTHER TO NEW YORK FROM VIRGINIA (FOURTH DEPT))/SUPPORT (FAMILY LAW, FATHER'S PETITION TO MODIFY SUPPORT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ALTHOUGH FATHER VOLUNTARILY LEFT A BETTER PAYING JOB IN VIRGINIA, HE DID SO TO BE NEARER TO HIS SON WHO HAD MOVED WITH MOTHER TO NEW YORK FROM VIRGINIA (FOURTH DEPT))

FAMILY LAW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

PROCEEDING LEADING TO THE REVOCATION OF APPELLANT'S ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL (ACD) AND ADJUDGING HIM A PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) FATALLY FLAWED BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Family Court, determined the proceeding which led to the revocation of appellant's Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) and adjudging him a person in need of supervision (PINS) was fatally flawed because appellant was never informed of his right to remain silent:

Although the appellant's term of custody has expired by the terms of the order appealed from, the order is not academic in light of the enduring consequences which might flow from the finding that the appellant violated the terms of the ACD order ... .

 

Family Court Act § 741(a) provides, in relevant part: "[a]t the initial appearance of a respondent in a proceeding and at the commencement of any hearing under this article, the respondent and his or her parent or other person legally responsible for his or her care shall be advised of the respondent's right to remain silent" ... . The failure to apprise a respondent of the right to remain silent constitutes reversible error, even if the respondent consents to the disposition in the presence of counsel ... or fails to seek to withdraw his or her admissions based on the failure ... .

 

Here, the Family Court never apprised the appellant of his right to remain silent—not at the initial appearance on the PINS petition, nor prior to accepting his admission to the allegations in the petition and entering the ACD order, nor at the fact-finding and dispositional hearing ... , addressing the alleged violation of the ACD order. The court's failure to advise the appellant of his right to remain silent cannot be considered harmless error ... , as the court never advised the appellant of his right to remain silent at any time during the course of this proceeding or the original PINS proceeding. Thus, the order must be reversed ... . Matter of Tyler D., 2018 NY Slip Op 07427, Second Dept 11-7-18

FAMILY LAW (PINS, PROCEEDING LEADING TO THE REVOCATION OF APPELLANT'S ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL (ACD) AND ADJUDGING HIM A PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) FATALLY FLAWED BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (SECOND DEPT))/PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) (PROCEEDING LEADING TO THE REVOCATION OF APPELLANT'S ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL (ACD) AND ADJUDGING HIM A PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) FATALLY FLAWED BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (SECOND DEPT))/CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (FAMILY LAW, RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT, PROCEEDING LEADING TO THE REVOCATION OF APPELLANT'S ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL (ACD) AND ADJUDGING HIM A PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) FATALLY FLAWED BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (SECOND DEPT))/RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (FAMILY LAW, PINS, PROCEEDING LEADING TO THE REVOCATION OF APPELLANT'S ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL (ACD) AND ADJUDGING HIM A PERSON IN NEED OF SUPERVISION (PINS) FATALLY FLAWED BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD OF HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (SECOND DEPT))

FAMILY LAW, EVIDENCE.

FINDING THAT DENNIS T IS A PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF A CHILD WAS PROPER, EVIDENTIARY RULE ANALOGOUS TO RES IPSA LOQUITUR SUPPORTED THE ABUSE FINDING (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined Family Court properly found Dennis T was a person legally responsible for the child Steven L. The court agreed with Family Court's finding of abuse against three persons using the Family Court Act evidence rule analogous to res ipsa loquitur:

"A person is a proper respondent in an article 10 proceeding as an other person legally responsible for the child's care' if that person acts as the functional equivalent of a parent in a familial or household setting"... . "Determining whether a particular person has acted as the functional equivalent of a parent is a discretionary, fact-intensive inquiry which will vary according to the particular circumstances of each case" ... . "Factors such as the frequency and nature of the contact between the child and respondent, the nature and extent of the control exercised by the respondent over the child's environment, the duration of the respondent's contact with the child, and the respondent's relationship to the child's parent(s) are some of the variables which should be considered and weighed by a court in determining whether a respondent fits within the catch-all category of section 1012 (g)" ... . * * *

Section 1046(a)(ii) of the Family Court Act "authorizes a method of proof which is closely analogous to the negligence rule of res ipsa loquitur" ... . "The statute also permits findings of abuse against more than one caretaker where multiple individuals had access to the child in the period in which the injury occurred" ... . "In such cases, the petitioner is not required to establish which caregiver actually inflicted the injury or whether they did so together" ... . "[Once] the petitioner establishes a prima facie case of abuse the burden of going forward shifts to respondents to rebut the evidence of . . . culpability, although the burden of proof always remains with the petitioner" ... . Matter of Unity T. (Dennis T.), 2018 NY Slip Op 07437, Second Dept 11-7-18

FAMILY LAW (ABUSE, FINDING THAT DENNIS T IS A PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF A CHILD WAS PROPER, EVIDENTIARY RULE ANALOGOUS TO RES IPSA LOQUITUR SUPPORTED THE ABUSE FINDING (SECOND DEPT))/ABUSE (FAMILY LAW, EVIDENCE,  FINDING THAT DENNIS T IS A PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF A CHILD WAS PROPER, EVIDENTIARY RULE ANALOGOUS TO RES IPSA LOQUITUR SUPPORTED THE ABUSE FINDING (SECOND DEPT))/EVIDENCE (FAMILY LAW, ABUSE, FINDING THAT DENNIS T IS A PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF A CHILD WAS PROPER, EVIDENTIARY RULE ANALOGOUS TO RES IPSA LOQUITUR SUPPORTED THE ABUSE FINDING (SECOND DEPT))/PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE (FAMILY LAW, ABUSE, FINDING THAT DENNIS T IS A PERSON LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF A CHILD WAS PROPER, EVIDENTIARY RULE ANALOGOUS TO RES IPSA LOQUITUR SUPPORTED THE ABUSE FINDING (SECOND DEPT))

FAMILY LAW, IMMIGRATION LAW.

FAMILY COURT SHOULD AMEND ITS ORDER GRANTING A SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS (SIJS) PETITION TO ADDRESS THE REASONS FOR THE REVOCATION OF THE PETITION BY THE US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Family Court, determined that Family Court should amend its Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) order to address the reasons for the revocation of the initial approval of the petition by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

The child moved for the issuance of an order making the requisite declaration and specific findings so as to enable him to petition for SIJS. ... [T]he Family Court granted the child's motion.

 

Thereafter, the child submitted an I-360 petition for SIJS to USCIS. Although the I-360 petition was initially approved, USCIS thereafter advised the child of its intention to "revoke the approval" based upon certain deficiencies in the special findings order. The child then moved to amend the special findings order to address the deficiencies, and the father joined in the motion. In an order dated February 26, 2018, the Family Court denied the motion to amend the special findings order. ...

Under the circumstances presented, we deem it appropriate to amend the special findings order to clarify that the basis for the Family Court's exercise of jurisdiction over this custody proceeding is under New York State law pursuant to Family Court Act § 651(a). We also deem it appropriate to amend the special findings order to specify that it would not be in the best interests of the child to be returned to El Salvador because the mother is unable to protect the child from harm by gang members in El Salvador, who have made threats of violence against him ... . Matter of Argueta v Santos, 2018 NY Slip Op 07424, Second Dept 11-7-18

FAMILY LAW (SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS, FAMILY COURT SHOULD AMEND ITS ORDER GRANTING A SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS (SIJS) PETITION TO ADDRESS THE REASONS FOR THE REVOCATION OF THE PETITION BY THE US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (SECOND DEPT))/IMMIGRATION LAW (FAMILY LAW, SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS, FAMILY COURT SHOULD AMEND ITS ORDER GRANTING A SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS (SIJS) PETITION TO ADDRESS THE REASONS FOR THE REVOCATION OF THE PETITION BY THE US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (SECOND DEPT))/SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATE (SIJS) (FAMILY COURT SHOULD AMEND ITS ORDER GRANTING A SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS (SIJS) PETITION TO ADDRESS THE REASONS FOR THE REVOCATION OF THE PETITION BY THE US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (SECOND DEPT))

FORECLOSURE, BANKING LAW.

PLAINTIFF BANK DID NOT MEET FACE TO FACE WITH DEFENDANT BEFORE THREE MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS WERE MISSED, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in this foreclosure action should not have been denied. Plaintiff bank did not seek a face to face meeting with defendant before three mortgage payments were missed:

In her pro se answer to the amended complaint, defendant alleged that the loan was subject to Federal Housing Administration guidelines and that plaintiff failed to comply with the regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development requiring the mortgagee to undertake certain pre-foreclosure measures, including a face-to-face meeting with the mortgagor, with respect to such loans. Although defendant did not specifically cite 24 CFR 203.604, the regulation establishing the face-to-face meeting requirement, in her answer, we afford the pro se answer a liberal reading ... , and conclude that defendant "sufficiently apprise[d] plaintiff" that she was challenging plaintiff's compliance with the requirements of that regulation ... .

 

Plaintiff failed to establish that it complied with the requirements of 24 CFR 203.604 and thus failed to establish that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the amended complaint... . More specifically, plaintiff did not arrange or attempt to arrange a face-to-face interview with defendant at any time "before three full monthly installments . . . [were] unpaid" (§ 203.604 [b]). Instead, the first attempt was made in June 2011, i.e., more than six months after the first installment went unpaid. Moreover, plaintiff did not establish that it sent notices to defendant by certified mail, as required by section 203.604 (d).  Bank of Am., N.A. v Spencer, 2018 NY Slip Op 07573, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

FORECLOSURE (PLAINTIFF BANK DID NOT MEET FACE TO FACE WITH DEFENDANT BEFORE THREE MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS WERE MISSED, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/BANKING LAW (FORECLOSURE, PLAINTIFF BANK DID NOT MEET FACE TO FACE WITH DEFENDANT BEFORE THREE MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS WERE MISSED, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))

FORECLOSURE, CIVIL PROCEDURE.

MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION FOR FAILURE TO TIMELY SERVE WITHIN THE 120 DAY WINDOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA FOR ALLOWING LATE SERVICE EXPLAINED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendants' motion pursuant to CPLR 306-b to dismiss the complaint in this foreclosure action (with regard to defendant Joseph) because it was not served within 120 days of filing should have been granted. The court explained the criteria for allowing extra time to serve:

 

As relevant here, CPLR 306-b provides that "[s]ervice of the summons and complaint . . . shall be made within one hundred twenty days after the commencement of the action." Further, "[i]f service is not made upon a defendant within the time provided in this section, the court, upon motion, shall dismiss the action without prejudice as to that defendant, or upon good cause shown or in the interest of justice, extend the time for service." " Good cause' and interest of justice' are two separate and independent statutory standards" ... . "To establish good cause, a plaintiff must demonstrate reasonable diligence in attempting service" ... . "If good cause for an extension is not established, courts must consider the interest of justice' standard of CPLR 306-b" ... , which "requires a careful judicial analysis of the factual setting of the case and a balancing of the competing interests presented by the parties" ... . "Unlike an extension request premised on good cause, a plaintiff [seeking an extension in the interest of justice] need not establish reasonably diligent efforts at service as a threshold matter" ... . "However, the court may consider diligence, or lack thereof, along with any other relevant factor in making its determination, including expiration of the statute of limitations, the potentially meritorious nature of the cause of action, the length of delay in service, the promptness of a plaintiff's request for the extension of time, and prejudice to defendant" ... . "No one factor is determinative—the calculus of the court's decision is dependent on the competing interests of the litigants and a clearly expressed desire by the Legislature that the interests of justice be served" ... .

 

The plaintiff failed to establish that it exercised reasonably diligent efforts in attempting to effect proper service of process upon Joseph and, thus, failed to show good cause ... . Further, the plaintiff failed to establish that an extension of time was warranted in the interest of justice ... . Where the plaintiff's delay in serving a defendant is protracted, and the defendant has no notice of the action for a protracted period of time, an inference of substantial prejudice arises ...  The plaintiff failed to rebut the inference of substantial prejudice that arose due to its protracted delay in serving Joseph, as it failed to come forward with any proof that Joseph had notice of this action prior to being served more than 5½ years after the action was commenced ... . Moreover, the plaintiff failed to explain its more than six-month delay in moving for relief pursuant to CPLR 306-b after it effectuated service upon Joseph ... . Under theses circumstances, the plaintiff failed to establish its entitlement to an extension of time to serve Joseph under the interest of justice standard ... , and its motion should have been denied. Wells Fargo Bank, NA v Barrella, 2018 NY Slip Op 07486, Second Dept 11-7-18

FORECLOSURE (MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION FOR FAILURE TO TIMELY SERVE WITHIN THE 120 DAY WINDOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA FOR ALLOWING LATE SERVICE EXPLAINED (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION FOR FAILURE TO TIMELY SERVE WITHIN THE 120 DAY WINDOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA FOR ALLOWING LATE SERVICE EXPLAINED (SECOND DEPT))/CPLR 306-b MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION FOR FAILURE TO TIMELY SERVE WITHIN THE 120 DAY WINDOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA FOR ALLOWING LATE SERVICE EXPLAINED (SECOND DEPT))

FORECLOSURE, CIVIL PROCEDURE, JUDGES.

THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff's motion for a default judgment and an order of reference should have been granted. By not raising lack of standing as a defense in the answer, the defense was waived. Supreme Court did not have the authority to, sua sponte, deny plaintiff's motion on that ground:

... [U]nder this Court's well-established precedent, as articulated in Wells Fargo Bank Minn., N.A. v Mastropaolo (42 AD3d 239), the defense of lack of standing is waived if not raised by the defendant in an answer or pre-answer motion to dismiss. Accordingly, by failing to answer the complaint or to make a pre-answer motion to dismiss the complaint, the defendants waived the defense of lack of standing ... . Under the circumstances of this case, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Kings County, for further proceedings before a different Justice. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Halberstam, 2018 NY Slip Op 07485, Second Dept 11-7-18

FORECLOSURE (THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT))/STANDING (FORECLOSURE, THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (FORECLOSURE, STANDING, THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT))/JUDGES (SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL, FORECLOSURE, THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT))/SUA SPONTE (THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF STANDING WAS NOT RAISED IN THE ANSWER AND WAS THEREFORE WAIVED, JUDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED THE COMPLAINT ON THAT GROUND (SECOND DEPT))

 

FRAUD, APPEALS.

DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined that the trial court used the wrong criteria for assessing damages for fraud, but further determined the damages should be reduced and, even though the respondent was entitled to a higher damages award, no relief could be afforded to a nonappealing party. Damages for fraud must be based on out-of-pocket losses, not profits that would have been earned absent the fraud:

"The true measure of damage is indemnity for the actual pecuniary loss sustained as the direct result of the wrong" ... . Under this rule, the loss is computed by ascertaining the "difference between the value of the bargain which a plaintiff was induced by fraud to make and the amount or value of the consideration exacted as the price of the bargain"... . Damages are to be calculated to compensate plaintiffs for what they lost because of the fraud, not to compensate them for what they might have gained ... . Under the out-of-pocket rule, there can be no recovery of profits which would have been realized in the absence of fraud ... . Global Granite Sales Corp. v Sabovic, 2018 NY Slip Op 07414, Second Dept 11-7-18

FRAUD (DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT))/DAMAGES (FRAUD, DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT))/APPEALS  (FRAUD, (DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT))/OUT OF POCKET LOSS (FRAUD, DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT))/PROFITS (FRAUD, DAMAGES FOR FRAUD SHOULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON OUT OF POCKET LOSS, NOT PROFITS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARNED ABSENT THE FRAUD, EVEN THOUGH RESPONDENT WAS ENTITLED TO MORE DAMAGES UNDER THE OUT OF POCKET RULE, NO RELIEF CAN BE AFFORDED TO THE NONAPPEALING PARTY (SECOND DEPT))

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW.

PLAINTIFF WAS NOT INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION WORK WHEN HE FELL, LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department determined defendant's summary judgment motion on the Labor Law 240(1) cause of action was properly granted. Although plaintiff fell when attempting to replace light bulbs in a strobe light on top of a van, he was not involved in construction work:

Labor Law § 240(1) "does not cover routine maintenance done outside the context of construction work" ... . The replacement of "components that require replacement in the course of normal wear and tear" constitutes routine maintenance ... . At the time of his fall, the plaintiff was engaged in the task of replacing burnt out light bulbs, which constitutes routine maintenance and therefore falls outside of the scope of Labor Law § 240(1) ... . Contrary to the plaintiff's contention, his work did not take place in the context of a larger project which "encompassed activity protected under the statute ... . Trotman v Verizon Communications, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07483, Second Dept 11-7-18

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (PLAINTIFF WAS NOT INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION WORK WHEN HE FELL, LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION PROPERLY DISMISSED (SECOND DEPT))

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW.

DEFENDANTS DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MEANS AND MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK. LABOR LAW 200 AND COMMON LAW NEGLIGENCE CAUSES OF ACTION PROPERLY DISMISSED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined the Labor Law 200 and common law negligence causes of action were properly dismissed because the plaintiff's injuries resulted from the means and manner of work and defendants did not exercise supervisory control  over plaintiff's work:

"It is settled law that where the alleged defect or dangerous condition arises from the contractor's methods and the owner exercises no supervisory control over the operation, no liability attaches to the owner under the common law or under section 200 of the Labor Law"... . "Defendants moving for summary judgment on Labor Law § 200 and common-law negligence causes of action may thus show their entitlement to summary judgment by establishing that plaintiff's accident resulted from the manner in which the work was performed, not from any dangerous condition on the premises, and [that] defendants exercised no supervisory control over the work' "... . Here, defendants established that the wires hanging above the roof of the garage did not, as alleged by plaintiff, constitute a "tripping and walking hazard" along an area of the property leading to the work site; instead, the alleged defect arose from plaintiff's method of performing the work by foregoing appropriate, authorized means of obtaining access to the utility pole and deciding to traverse the pitched roof of the garage over which the wires hung ... . Inasmuch as defendants exercised no supervisory control over the injury-producing work, defendants established their entitlement to summary judgment dismissing the section 200 and common-law negligence causes of action ... . Anderson v National Grid USA Serv. Co., 2018 NY Slip Op 07572, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (DEFENDANTS DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MEANS AND MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK. LABOR LAW 200 AND COMMON LAW NEGLIGENCE CAUSES OF ACTION PROPERLY DISMISSED (FOURTH DEPT))

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE.

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ARGUMENT IN PLAINTIFF'S REPLY PAPERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED (FIRST DEPT).

The First Department determined plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on his Labor Law 240(1) cause of action should have been granted, noting that plaintiff's argument in the reply papers should have been considered because it was a response to defendants' opposition motion:

Plaintiff was injured when a metal shim plate affixed to a steel column, that was being installed as part of a temporary truss system, suddenly detached and hit him in the head. Plaintiff established that the accident was proximately caused by the undisputed failure of safety devices that were supposed to afford proper protection against the elevation-related risks that plaintiff faced during the installation of the column being hoisted into place ... . The tack welds used to secure the metal shim plate to the column were "safety devices" for the purposes of Labor Law § 240(1) because they were intended to be a temporary measure to keep the shim plate attached to the column during installation ... . The welds were to be removed once the column was in place, at which time the plates would be permanently bolted into place. The evidence established that the accident occurred when the welds failed, inasmuch as the shim plate, which weighed between 200 and 400 pounds, was welded on only one side of the metal column ... . Thus, the shim plate "fell because of the inadequacy of a safety device. . .[that was] put in place as to give proper protection for" plaintiff, entitling him to partial summary judgment ... .

 

The motion court should have considered plaintiff's reply argument that the one-sided tack welds were insufficient to safely secure the shim plate to the column because it was made in response to defendants' opposition to the motion ... . Keerdoja v Legacy Yards Tenant, LLC, 2018 NY Slip Op 07537, First Dept 11-8-18

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ARGUMENT IN PLAINTIFF'S REPLY PAPERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (REPLY PAPERS, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ARGUMENT IN PLAINTIFF'S REPLY PAPERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED (SECOND DEPT))/REPLY (PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HIS LABOR LAW 240(1) CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, ARGUMENT IN PLAINTIFF'S REPLY PAPERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED (SECOND DEPT))

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, WORKERS' COMPENSATION, JUDGES.

LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT GENERAL CONTRACTOR DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK, SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED CROSS CLAIMS BECAUSE THAT RELIEF WAS NOT REQUESTED, PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PROTECTION FROM SUIT UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW BECAUSE IT DID NOT MAINTAIN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION POLICY (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, in a comprehensive decision, over a comprehensive dissent, determined that the general contractor, Ultimate, was not liable under Labor Law 200 for plaintiff's fall through an opening in planks and plywood covering a stairwell opening because the accident was attributable to the manner of the work and Ultimate did not exercise any supervisory control over the installation of drywall by the plaintiff. The dissent argued that there was a question of fact whether the opening in the stairwell covering was a dangerous condition of which Ultimate had notice, which is also a ground for liability under Labor Law 200. The Second Department noted that the court should not have sua sponte dismissed Ultimate's cross claims against the drywall company (Fortin) because such relief was not requested. The Second Department further noted that Fortin was not entitled to protection from plaintiff's suit under the Workers' Compensation Law on the ground that plaintiff was Fortin's employee because Fortin did not maintain a Workers' Compensation policy:

"Labor Law § 200(1) is a codification of the common-law duty of an owner or general contractor to provide workers with a safe place to work"... . "Cases involving Labor Law § 200 fall into two broad categories: namely, those where workers are injured as a result of dangerous or defective premises conditions at a work site, and those involving the manner in which the work is performed" ... . Where "a claim arises out of alleged defects or dangers arising from a subcontractor's methods or materials, recovery against the owner or general contractor cannot be had unless it is shown that the party to be charged exercised some supervisory control over the operation" ... . "A defendant has the authority to supervise or control the work for purposes of Labor Law § 200 when that defendant bears the responsibility for the manner in which the work is performed" ... . "[M]ere general supervisory authority at a work site for the purpose of overseeing the progress of the work and inspecting the work product is insufficient to impose liability under Labor Law § 200" ... . ...

... Ultimate established, ... that the accident arose from the method and manner in which the plaintiff and Jean-Guy Fortin covered the stairwell opening ... . ...

The Supreme Court should not have, in effect, sua sponte, directed dismissal of Ultimate's cross claims against Fortin for common-law indemnification and contribution, which relief Fortin did not request in its motion papers... . Moreover, the Supreme Court should have granted that branch of Ultimate's motion which was for summary judgment on its cross claim against Fortin for common-law indemnification. Contrary to Fortin's contention, Ultimate's cross claims are not barred by Workers' Compensation Law § 11. ... Ultimate established that Fortin did not procure workers' compensation on behalf of the plaintiff ... . Therefore, Fortin is not entitled to the benefit of the workers' compensation bar. Poulin v Ultimate Homes, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07468, Second Dept 11-7-18

LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT GENERAL CONTRACTOR DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK, SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED CROSS CLAIMS BECAUSE THAT RELIEF WAS NOT REQUESTED, PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PROTECTION FROM SUIT UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW BECAUSE IT DID NOT MAINTAIN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION POLICY (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (SUA SPONTE, LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT GENERAL CONTRACTOR DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK, SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED CROSS CLAIMS BECAUSE THAT RELIEF WAS NOT REQUESTED, PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PROTECTION FROM SUIT UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW BECAUSE IT DID NOT MAINTAIN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION POLICY (SECOND DEPT))/JUDGES (SUA SPONTE, LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT GENERAL CONTRACTOR DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK, SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED CROSS CLAIMS BECAUSE THAT RELIEF WAS NOT REQUESTED, PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PROTECTION FROM SUIT UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW BECAUSE IT DID NOT MAINTAIN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION POLICY (SECOND DEPT))/WORKERS' COMPENSATION (LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, LABOR LAW 200 CAUSE OF ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISMISSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT GENERAL CONTRACTOR DID NOT EXERCISE SUPERVISORY CONTROL OVER THE MANNER OF PLAINTIFF'S WORK, SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT HAVE, SUA SPONTE, DISMISSED CROSS CLAIMS BECAUSE THAT RELIEF WAS NOT REQUESTED, PLAINTIFF'S EMPLOYER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PROTECTION FROM SUIT UNDER THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW BECAUSE IT DID NOT MAINTAIN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION POLICY (SECOND DEPT))

LANDLORD-TENANT, CONTRACT LAW.

PROPRIETARY LEASE PROVISION ALLOWING THE LANDLORD TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES EVEN WHEN THE LANDLORD IS IN DEFAULT IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNENFORCEABLE (FIRST DEPT).

The First Department determined that a provision in a lease which required the petitioner tenant to pay the respondent landlord's attorney's fees even where the landlord was in default was unenforceable as unconscionable. Petitioner tenant had sued the landlord for failure to transfer shares in an apartment in accordance with petitioner's husband's wishes:

In 2012, petitioner's husband, who owned the shares to another apartment in the building, agreed to transfer his shares to petitioner. Petitioner paid a transfer fee to respondent so that it would transfer the shares to her. She later sued respondent for default of the lease agreement and for statutory violations because respondent had not transferred the shares to her husband's apartment to her. Respondent answered petitioner's complaint and asserted a counterclaim for attorneys' fees under paragraph 6(7)(c). * * *

.. [W]we find that an attorneys' fees provision which provides that the tenant must pay attorneys' fees if it commences an action against the landlord based upon the default of the landlord is unconscionable and unenforceable as a penalty. Paragraph 6(7)(c) of the proprietary lease permits the landlord to recover attorneys' fees when the tenant brings an action against the landlord even when the landlord is in default. To enforce such a provision would produce an unjust result because it would dissuade aggrieved parties from pursuing litigation and preclude tenant-shareholders from making meaningful decisions about how to vindicate their rights in legitimate instances of landlord default. Matter of Krodel v Amalgamated Dwellings Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07531, First Dept 11-8-18

LANDLORD-TENANT (CONTRACT LAW, PROPRIETARY LEASE PROVISION ALLOWING THE LANDLORD TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES EVEN WHEN THE LANDLORD IS IN DEFAULT IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNENFORCEABLE (FIRST DEPT))/CONTRACT LAW (LANDLORD-TENANT, LEASE, CONTRACT LAW, PROPRIETARY LEASE PROVISION ALLOWING THE LANDLORD TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES EVEN WHEN THE LANDLORD IS IN DEFAULT IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNENFORCEABLE (FIRST DEPT))/LEASE (CONTRACT LAW, UNCONSIONABILITY, PROPRIETARY LEASE PROVISION ALLOWING THE LANDLORD TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES EVEN WHEN THE LANDLORD IS IN DEFAULT IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNENFORCEABLE (FIRST DEPT))/UNCONSIONABILITY (LANDLORD-TENANT, CONTRACT LAW, LEASE, PROPRIETARY LEASE PROVISION ALLOWING THE LANDLORD TO RECOVER ATTORNEY'S FEES EVEN WHEN THE LANDLORD IS IN DEFAULT IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNENFORCEABLE (FIRST DEPT))

NEGLIGENCE.

PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY TRIPPED AND FELL WHEN SHE CAUGHT HER FOOT UNDER A TIRE-WHEEL STOP IN A PARKING LOT, DEFENDANTS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE WHEN THE WHEEL STOP WAS LAST INSPECTED, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendants' motion for summary judgment in this slip and fall case should not have been granted. Plaintiff allegedly caught her foot under a tire/wheel stop in defendants' parking lot. The defendants did not present any evidence about when the wheel stop was last inspected:

The defendants failed to establish, prima facie, that they lacked constructive notice of the allegedly dangerous condition. They failed to submit evidence as to when, prior to the accident, the tire/wheel stop at issue was last inspected ... . Since the defendants failed to demonstrate their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the Supreme Court should have denied their motion, without regard to the sufficiency of the opposition papers ... . Troina v Canyon Donuts Jericho Turnpike, Inc.. 2018 NY Slip Op 07482, Second Dept 11-7-18

NEGLIGENCE (PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY TRIPPED AND FELL WHEN SHE CAUGHT HER FOOT UNDER A TIRE-WHEEL STOP IN A PARKING LOT, DEFENDANTS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE WHEN THE WHEEL STOP WAS LAST INSPECTED, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/SLIP AND FALL  (PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY TRIPPED AND FELL WHEN SHE CAUGHT HER FOOT UNDER A TIRE-WHEEL STOP IN A PARKING LOT, DEFENDANTS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE WHEN THE WHEEL STOP WAS LAST INSPECTED, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/WHEEL STOP (SLIP AND FALL, PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY TRIPPED AND FELL WHEN SHE CAUGHT HER FOOT UNDER A TIRE-WHEEL STOP IN A PARKING LOT, DEFENDANTS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE WHEN THE WHEEL STOP WAS LAST INSPECTED, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/TIRE STOP (SLIP AND FALL, PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY TRIPPED AND FELL WHEN SHE CAUGHT HER FOOT UNDER A TIRE-WHEEL STOP IN A PARKING LOT, DEFENDANTS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE WHEN THE WHEEL STOP WAS LAST INSPECTED, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))

NEGLIGENCE, CONTRACT LAW.

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF LIQUID ON THE FLOOR IN THIS SLIP AND FALL CASE NOT DEMONSTRATED WITH RESPECT TO THE BUILDING OWNER, NO ESPINAL FACTORS ALLEGED WITH RESPECT TO THE CLEANING SERVICE, DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the defendants' motions for summary judgment in this slip and fall case should have been granted. Constructive notice of the liquid on the floor was not demonstrated with respect to the building owner (Berkshire) and none of the Espinal factors were alleged with respect to the cleaning service (Temco):

Here, the evidence submitted by Berkshire in support of its motion, including the transcript of the plaintiff's deposition testimony, was sufficient to establish, prima facie, that Berkshire did not create the alleged hazardous condition or have actual or constructive notice of its existence for a sufficient period of time to have discovered and remedied it ... . The plaintiff testified that when he traversed the accident site approximately 20 minutes before the incident, he did not see the condition that had caused him to slip. In opposition, the plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact.

With respect to Temco's motion, "[g]enerally, a contractual obligation, standing alone, will not give rise to tort liability in favor of a third party" ... . However, there are three exceptions to this general rule: (1) where the contracting party, in failing to exercise reasonable care in the performance of its duties, launches a force or instrument of harm or creates or exacerbates a hazardous condition; (2) where the plaintiff detrimentally relies on the continued performance of the contracting party's duties; and (3) where the contracting party has entirely displaced the other party's duty to maintain the premises safely... .

 

Here, Temco established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating, prima facie, that the plaintiff was not a party to its cleaning services contract, and that it, thus, owed him no duty of care ... . Since the plaintiffs did not allege facts in the complaint or bill of particulars that would establish the applicability of any of the Espinal exceptions, Temco was not required to affirmatively demonstrate that these exceptions were inapplicable in order to establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law ... . Hagan v City of New York, 2018 NY Slip Op 07415, Second Dept 11-7-18

NEGLIGENCE, EMPLOYMENT LAW, BATTERY.

EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined the employer's motion for summary judgment in this third-party assault case was properly granted. After an employee (Hartfield) had been asked to leave for the day by the employer, the employee assaulted plaintiff in the parking lot. The doctrine of respondeat superior did not apply because the employee was not acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the assault:

... [D]efendant established as a matter of law that the doctrine of respondeat superior is inapplicable because Hartfield was not acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the assault. The doctrine of respondeat superior renders an employer "vicariously liable for the tortious acts of its employees only if those acts were committed in furtherance of the employer's business and within the scope of employment"... .. Although the issue whether an employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment is generally a question of fact, summary judgment is appropriate "in a case such as this, in which the relevant facts are undisputed" ... . Here, we conclude that defendant met its initial burden of establishing that Hartfield's assault of plaintiff was not committed in furtherance of defendant's business and was not within the scope of employment ... . Stribing v Bill Gray's Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07566, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

NEGLIGENCE (EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/EMPLOYMENT LAW (RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR, EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/BATTERY (EMPLOYMENT LAW, RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR, EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR (NEGLIGENCE, BATTERY, EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))/THIRD PARTY ASSAULT (EMPLOYMENT LAW, RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR, EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HER EMPLOYMENT WHEN SHE ASSAULTED PLAINTIFF IN THE EMPLOYER'S PARKING LOT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THIS THIRD PARTY ASSAULT CASE PROPERLY GRANTED (FOURTH DEPT))

NEGLIGENCE, EVIDENCE.

QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined there was a question of fact whether the absence of a handrail on a stairway, a violation of the Building Code, was a proximate cause of plaintiff's slip and fall. Therefore defendants motion for summary judgment should not have been granted:

... [P]laintiff argued ... that the absence of a second handrail proximately caused her injuries. She submitted the affidavit of an engineering expert, who averred that the condition of the staircase violated various provisions of the 1984 New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code (hereinafter the Building Code). The plaintiff raised a triable issue of fact regarding the absence of a second handrail. There is no dispute that the staircase required a second handrail (see 9 NYCRR former 765.4[a][11]). Given the plaintiff's deposition testimony that there was nothing to grasp when she reached for the partial wall to her left, coupled with conflicting evidence as to whether the partial wall complied with section 765.4(a)(11) of the Building Code, triable issues of fact exist as to whether the Building Code was violated and whether a violation of that section of the Building Code, if any, was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries ... . Rakovsky v Rob-Lee Corp., 2018 NY Slip Op 07471, Second Dept 11-7-18

NEGLIGENCE (SLIP AND FALL, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/EVIDENCE (NEGLIGENCE, SLIP AND FALL, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/STAIRWAYS (SLIP AND FALL, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/HANDRAILS (SLIP AND FALL, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/HANDRAILS (STAIRWAYS, SLIP AND FALL, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/SLIP AND FALL (QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SECOND HANDRAIL, A VIOLATION OF THE BUILDING CODE, WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S SLIP AND FALL IN A STAIRWAY, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))

NEGLIGENCE, EVIDENCE.

QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER DEFENDANT WAS NEGLIGENT IN THIS REAR END COLLISION CASE, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in this rear-end collision case should not have been granted. Plaintiff submitted defendant's deposition in which defendant testified plaintiff stopped abruptly for no apparent reason:

A rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle, requiring that operator to rebut the inference of negligence by providing a nonnegligent explanation for the collision ... . "A nonnegligent explanation includes, but is not limited to, sudden or unavoidable circumstances'" ... .

 

The Supreme Court should have denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The plaintiff's deposition testimony, submitted in support of the motion, demonstrated that her vehicle was struck in the rear while stopped on the exit ramp due to traffic conditions, thus raising an inference of the defendant driver's negligence. However, the plaintiff's submissions also included a transcript of the defendant driver's deposition testimony, wherein he testified that the plaintiff's vehicle came to an abrupt stop when there was no vehicular traffic in front of it on the exit ramp, and the two vehicles collided. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff's motion papers presented a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant driver was negligent in the happening of the subject accident ... . Richter v Delutri, 2018 NY Slip Op 07475, Second Dept 11-7-18

NEGLIGENCE (TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, REAR END COLLISION, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER DEFENDANT WAS NEGLIGENT IN THIS REAR END COLLISION CASE, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/EVIDENCE (NEGLIGENCE, REAR END COLLISION, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER DEFENDANT WAS NEGLIGENT IN THIS REAR END COLLISION CASE, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS (REAR END COLLISION, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER DEFENDANT WAS NEGLIGENT IN THIS REAR END COLLISION CASE, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))/REAR END COLLISIONS ( QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER DEFENDANT WAS NEGLIGENT IN THIS REAR END COLLISION CASE, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED (SECOND DEPT))

NEGLIGENCE, EVIDENCE.

EVIDENCE OF ROUTINE MAINTENANCE OF THE PARKING LOT WHERE PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY FELL, I.E. EVIDENCE OF HABIT, PROPERLY ADMITTED IN THIS ICE AND SNOW SLIP AND FALL CASE (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department determined evidence of routine maintenance of the parking lot, essentially evidence habit, was properly admitted in this slip and fall case which resulted in a defense verdict:

... [P]laintiff appeals from an order that, inter alia, denied that part of his pretrial motion seeking to preclude habit evidence. ... 

" Proof of a deliberate repetitive practice by one in complete control of the circumstances' is admissible provided that the party presenting such proof demonstrates a sufficient number of instances of the conduct in question' " ... . Here, the testimony of the maintenance staff concerning their daily routine in maintaining the subject parking lot was properly admitted as evidence of their conduct prior to the incident at issue. Rozier v BTNH, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07575, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

NEGLIGENCE (EVIDENCE OF ROUTINE MAINTENANCE OF THE PARKING LOT WHERE PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY FELL, I.E. EVIDENCE OF HABIT, PROPERLY ADMITTED IN THIS ICE AND SNOW SLIP AND FALL CASE (FOURTH DEPT))/SLIP AND FALL (EVIDENCE OF ROUTINE MAINTENANCE OF THE PARKING LOT WHERE PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY FELL, I.E. EVIDENCE OF HABIT, PROPERLY ADMITTED IN THIS ICE AND SNOW SLIP AND FALL CASE (FOURTH DEPT))/HABIT (SLIP AND FALL, EVIDENCE OF ROUTINE MAINTENANCE OF THE PARKING LOT WHERE PLAINTIFF ALLEGEDLY FELL, I.E. EVIDENCE OF HABIT, PROPERLY ADMITTED IN THIS ICE AND SNOW SLIP AND FALL CASE (FOURTH DEPT))

TRUSTS AND ESTATES, CIVIL PROCEDURE, APPEALS.

PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT).

The Second Department, reversing Surrogate's Court, determined that petitioner had standing to seek the appointment of an administrator of the estate of the decedent who was a party, along with petitioner, is several actions which resulted in appeals pending before the Second Department:

In this proceeding, the petitioner, the founder of Five Towns College, seeks the appointment of an administrator for the estate of John D. Quinn (hereinafter the decedent), a former member of the college's board of trustees. Prior to the decedent's death, the petitioner and decedent were parties in a number of actions that resulted in four appeals pending before this Court ... . Those appeals were automatically stayed pending the substitution of a legal representative for the decedent pursuant to CPLR 1015(a).

 

The Surrogate's Court dismissed the petition, finding that the petitioner lacked standing to bring the petition. The petitioner, in effect, moved for leave to reargue the dismissal of the petition, and upon reargument, the court adhered to its original determination.

 

Upon reargument, the Surrogate's Court should have found that the petitioner has standing to bring the petition. SCPA 1002(1) provides, in relevant part, that "a person interested in an action . . . in which the intestate . . . , if living, would be a proper party may present a petition to the court having jurisdiction praying for a decree granting letters of administration to him or to another person upon the estate of the intestate." In this case, the decedent was named as a party in the actions in which appeals are pending before this Court, and the petitioner, as a defendant in those actions and an appellant before this Court, has an interest in those actions. Thus, pursuant to SCPA 1002(1), the petitioner has standing to petition the Surrogate's Court for the appointment of an administrator for the decedent's estate. Matter of Quinn, 2018 NY Slip Op 07433, Second Dept 11-7-18

TRUSTS AND ESTATES (PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT))/CIVIL PROCEDURE (TRUSTS AND ESTATES, PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT))/APPEALS (TRUSTS AND ESTATES, CIVIL PROCEDURE, (PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT))/SURROGATE'S COURT PROCEDURE ACT (SPCA) (PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT))/CPLR 1015 (TRUSTS AND ESTATES, PETITIONER WAS A PARTY ALONG WITH DECEDENT IN SEVERAL ACTIONS WHICH RESULTED IN PENDING APPEALS, PETITIONER THEREFORE HAD STANDING TO SEEK THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, SURROGATE'S COURT REVERSED (SECOND DEPT))

UTILITIES, REAL PROPERTY LAW, EMINENT DOMAIN, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW.

ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT).

The Fourth Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice NeMoyer, over a two-justice dissent, considering a matter of first impression, reversing Supreme Court, determined that a gas supply company could not acquire easements over private property by eminent domain for the installation of a pipeline for which the state denied a permit:

In February 2017, the FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] granted petitioner's application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate a 97-mile natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania into western New York. The pipeline's proposed route travels directly across respondents' land ... . Within the voluminous certificate, the FERC found that petitioner's "proposed [pipeline] project is consistent with the Certificate Policy Statement," i.e., the public interest. "Based on this finding and the environmental review for the proposed project," the FERC further found "that the public convenience and necessity require approval and certification of the project." ...

... [T]he New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied petitioner's application for a WQC [water quality certification]. The WQC application, held the DEC, "fails to demonstrate compliance with New York State water quality standards." Petitioner has taken various steps to challenge the WQC denial, including the filing of a petition for judicial review in the Second Circuit pursuant to 15 USC § 717r (d). It appears that those challenges have not yet been finally resolved. It is undisputed, however, that if the WQC denial is ultimately upheld, the pipeline cannot be built ... . * * *

... [P]etitioner is trying to expropriate respondents' land in furtherance of a pipeline project that, as things currently stand, cannot legally be built. Such an effort turns the entire concept of eminent domain on its head. If the State's WQC denial is finally annulled or withdrawn, then petitioner can file a new vesting petition. But until that time, petitioner cannot commence a vesting proceeding to force a sale without going through the entire EDPL [Eminent Domain Procedure Law] article 2 process. Matter of National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. v Schueckler, 2018 NY Slip Op 07550, Fourth Dept 11-9-18

UTILITIES (GAS PIPELINE INSTALLATION, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))/GAS PIPELINE (EMINENT DOMAIN, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))/REAL PROPERTY LAW (GAS PIPELINE, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))/EMINENT DOMAIN (GAS PIPELINE INSTALLATION, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))/ENVIRONMENTAL LAW  (GAS PIPELINE INSTALLATION, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))/GAS PIPELINE (EMINENT DOMAIN, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (FERC) APPROVED THE GAS PIPELINE, THE STATE DID NOT ISSUE A WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC) FOR THE PROJECT, THEREFORE THE PIPELINE COMPANY CAN NOT SEEK EASEMENTS OVER PRIVATE LAND PURSUANT TO THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW (EDPL) TO INSTALL THE PIPELINE (FOURTH DEPT))