MacFawnv.Kresler

Court of Appeals of the State of New YorkMay 2, 1996
88 N.Y.2d 859 (N.Y. 1996)
88 N.Y.2d 859666 N.E.2d 1359644 N.Y.S.2d 486

Argued March 20, 1996

Decided May 2, 1996

Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department, Lawrence E. Kahn, J.

Eugene R. Spada, Albany, for appellant. Cravath, Swaine Moore, New York City ( Timothy J. Coleman, Rowan D. Wilson and Robert P. Pongetti of counsel), for respondents.


MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.

Plaintiff in this malicious prosecution action bears the burden of establishing that the underlying criminal action terminated favorably to him ( Ward v Silverberg, 85 N.Y.2d 993; Hollender v Trump Vil. Coop., 58 N.Y.2d 420; Martin v City of Albany, 42 N.Y.2d 13, 16). A criminal proceeding terminates favorably to the accused, for purposes of a malicious prosecution claim, when the final disposition of the proceeding involves the merits and indicates the accused's innocence ( see, Hollender v Trump Vil. Coop., supra; Halberstadt v New York Life Ins. Co., 194 N.Y. 1).

In this case the information charging plaintiff with attempted grand larceny in the fourth degree, theft of a credit card (Penal Law § 155.30; § 110.00), was dismissed by the court because it concluded that the facts alleged by the People were not legally sufficient to support the charge (CPL 170.30 [a]; 170.35 [1] [a]). The People were at liberty to amend the information to correct the deficiency but did not do so. Neither did they refile the charge as they could have ( see, People v Nuccio, 78 N.Y.2d 102, 104).

Manifestly, the criminal action was disposed of on procedural grounds. The court did not reach the merits and the question of plaintiff's guilt or innocence remained unanswered after the court dismissed the information. Accordingly, plaintiff's complaint in the civil action failed to state a cause of action for malicious prosecution and it was properly dismissed.

Chief Judge KAYE and Judges SIMONS, TITONE, BELLACOSA, SMITH, LEVINE and CIPARICK concur.

Order affirmed, with costs, in a memorandum.