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Garcia v. City of New York

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department
Dec 2, 2020
189 A.D.3d 788 (N.Y. App. Div. 2020)

Opinion

2018–05845 Index No. 706515/15

12-02-2020

Brayan GARCIA, etc., et al., Appellants, v. CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Respondents.

The Yankowitz Law Firm, P.C., Great Neck, N.Y. (Jack A. Yankowitz and Skylar K. Yankowitz of counsel), for appellants. James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel, New York, N.Y. (Fay Ng and Susan Paulson of counsel), for respondents.


The Yankowitz Law Firm, P.C., Great Neck, N.Y. (Jack A. Yankowitz and Skylar K. Yankowitz of counsel), for appellants.

James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel, New York, N.Y. (Fay Ng and Susan Paulson of counsel), for respondents.

REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, HECTOR D. LASALLE, VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, etc., the plaintiffs appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Kevin J. Kerrigan, J.), entered April 27, 2018. The order denied the plaintiffs' motion pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to vacate an order of the same court entered July 19, 2017, granting that branch of the defendants' unopposed motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

ORDERED that the order entered April 27, 2018, is reversed, on the facts and in the exercise of discretion, with costs, the plaintiffs' motion pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to vacate the order entered July 19, 2017, is granted, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Queens County, for a determination on the merits of that branch of the defendants' motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

The infant plaintiff was arrested on April 24, 2014. The plaintiffs commenced this action, inter alia, to recover damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained by the infant plaintiff as a result of his false arrest and imprisonment. The defendants moved, among other things, for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Due to the plaintiffs' failure to serve their opposition papers in compliance with the centralized motion part's briefing schedule, the motion was marked "submitted/no opposition," and in an order entered July 19, 2017, the Supreme Court granted that branch of the defendants' motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, without opposition. Thereafter, the plaintiffs moved pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) to vacate the order entered July 19, 2017. The court denied the motion. The plaintiffs appeal.

A party seeking to vacate a default in opposing a motion must demonstrate both a reasonable excuse for the default and a potentially meritorious opposition to the motion (see CPLR 5015[a][1] ; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Fattizzo, 183 A.D.3d 851, 851, 122 N.Y.S.3d 520 ; Turko v. Daffy's, Inc., 111 A.D.3d 615, 616, 974 N.Y.S.2d 126 ). The determination of what constitutes a reasonable excuse lies within the sound discretion of the trial court (see Bank of N.Y. Mellon v. Faragalla, 174 A.D.3d 677, 678, 105 N.Y.S.3d 529 ; Mid–Hudson Properties, Inc. v. Klein, 167 A.D.3d 862, 864, 90 N.Y.S.3d 264 ). In making such a determination, the court may excuse delay or default resulting from law office failure (see CPLR 2005 ; Mid–Hudson Props., Inc. v. Klein, 167 A.D.3d 862, 864, 90 N.Y.S.3d 264 ).

Here, considering all of the relevant factors, including the brief six-day delay between the submission deadline set by the centralized motion part and the date the plaintiffs served their opposition papers, the lack of prejudice to the defendants, and the lack of willfulness on the part of plaintiffs' counsel, the Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in not accepting the plaintiffs' excuse of law office failure for their failure to submit opposition papers on the return date set by the centralized motion part (see Narvaez v. City of New York, 171 A.D.3d 764, 765, 95 N.Y.S.3d 847 ; Young Su Hwangbo v. Nastro, 153 A.D.3d 963, 965, 60 N.Y.S.3d 412 ). Furthermore, the plaintiffs demonstrated that they had a potentially meritorious opposition to the motion (see 210 East 60 St., LLC v. Rahman, 178 A.D.3d 888, 889, 115 N.Y.S.3d 79 ; Remote Meter Tech. of NY, Inc. v. Aris Realty Corp., 83 A.D.3d 1030, 1032, 922 N.Y.S.2d 440 ). Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted the plaintiffs' motion, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Queens County, for a determination on the merits of that branch of the defendants' motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

The plaintiffs' remaining contentions are not properly before this Court.

RIVERA, J.P., LEVENTHAL, LASALLE and BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ., concur.


Summaries of

Garcia v. City of New York

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department
Dec 2, 2020
189 A.D.3d 788 (N.Y. App. Div. 2020)
Case details for

Garcia v. City of New York

Case Details

Full title:Brayan Garcia, etc., et al., appellants, v. City of New York, et al.…

Court:SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department

Date published: Dec 2, 2020

Citations

189 A.D.3d 788 (N.Y. App. Div. 2020)
137 N.Y.S.3d 114
2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 7170