Thursday, September 18, 2014

A rear-end collision.

Practice point:  A rear-end collision establishes, prima facie, negligence on the part of the rear vehicle's driver, regardless of whether the lead vehicle was stopped or stopping.. That driver, then, must rebut the inference of negligence by providing a nonnegligent explanation for the collision. A bare allegation that the lead vehicle stopped short is insufficient to rebut the inference.

Student note:  Where the movant has established entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the burden shifts to the opposing party to provide sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact as to the moving party's comparative fault.

Case:  Billis v Tunjian, NY Slip Op 06044 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow' issue: A late motion for leave to amend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The enforceability of an on-the-record stipulation.

Practice point:  In this divorce action the Appellate Division affirmed the finding that the parties' on-the-record agreement was too incomplete and indefinite to be enforceable, and was merely a non-binding agreement to agree.  The parties disagreed as to whether the proposal included a waiver of maintenance, and they did not finalize the details of the transfer of a trust. Other material terms were never agreed to, and the agreement was subject to the consummation of future conditions and additional agreements.

Student note: To be enforceable, an open court stipulation must contain all of the material terms and
evince a clear mutual accord between the parties, pursuant to CPLR 2104;

Case:  Cohen v. Cohen, NY Slip Op 06157 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: A rear-end collision.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hearsay evidence in opposing summary judgment.

Practice point: Plaintiff brought this action against her former father-in-law to enforce his guaranty of a settlement agreement in a matrimonial proceeding. The agreement provided, in pertinent part,that plaintiff, who remained an obligor on a mortgage and a line of credit agreement along with her nonparty former husband, had the right to notify the husband or defendant of any uncured default in the monthly payments and demand that the default be cured.

Plaintiff's primary claim is that the husband's repeated late payments on the mortgage and the line of credit had damaged her credit and resulted in receipt of a bank notice indicating that the former marital residence was at risk of foreclosure.

Pertaining to the line of credit account, defendant avers, and the husband states in a letter, that the bank representative informed them that the line of credit payments were current, and advising of the next scheduled payment. Defendant contends that the bank representative's statement was the best and only information he could obtain, as he was not a signatory on the accounts at issue and not allowed to obtain copies of the statements.

The Appellate Division found the argument unavailing, as defendant's affidavit relies only on hearsay evidence that a bank representative had indicated that the line of credit was in good standing. The documentary evidence is to the contrary.

Student note:  A party opposing summary judgment may proffer hearsay evidence, but such proof may not be the sole factual basis for denying summary judgment.

Case: Andron v. Libby, NY Slip Op 06155 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: The enforceability of an on-the-record stipulation.


Monday, September 15, 2014

In a mortgage foreclosure action, a challenge to standing, and assignment of the mortgage and the underlying note.

Practice point:  In a mortgage foreclosure matter where the defendant challenges plaintiff's standing, the plaintiff must prove standing to be entitled to relief. The plaintiff has standing where, at the time the action is commenced, it is the holder or assignee of both the subject mortgage and the underlying note. Written assignment of the underlying note or physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the action is sufficient to transfer the obligation.

Student note: Once a promissory note is tendered to and accepted by an assignee, the mortgage passes as an incident to the note. However, the assignment of a mortgage without assignment of the underlying debt is a nullity, and no interest is acquired by it.

Case:  HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Gilbert, NY Slip Op 05950 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Hearsay evidence in opposing summary judgment.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Time limits on renewal of a judgment lien.

Practice point:  CPLR 5014(1) allows an action on a money judgment between the original parties when ten years have elapsed since the judgment was first docketed. So, an action for a renewal judgment is not time-barred if it is commenced more than ten years after the original judgment was docketed. Here, though, instead of commencing a new action, pursuant to CPLR 5014, the plaintiff moved in the original action to renew the judgment lien. As the plaintiff's did not commence a new action, as required by CPLR 5014, the Appellate Division affirmed the Supreme Court's denial of that branch of the motion which was to renew the judgment lien.

Student note:  Since a money judgment is viable for 20 years, but a lien on real property is only effective for 10 years, pursuant to CPLR 211[b] and 5203[a]), the Legislature enacted CPLR 5014 to allow a judgment creditor to renew the lien by commencing an action for a renewal judgment.

Case:  Guerra v. Crescent St. Corp., NY Slip Op 05948 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue: In a mortgage foreclosure action, a challenge to standing, and assignment of the mortgage and the underlying note.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Documents in the electronic record in a medical malpractice action.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division affirmed the Supreme Court's determination that the moving defendants failed to make a prima facie showing of their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. The defendants' medical experts did not examine the plaintiff's decedent but relied on medical reports and medical records that were not annexed to the motion. Although the defendants contend that they provided the Supreme Court with a CD-R containing the medical records relied upon by their experts, there is no evidence that the CD-R provided to the court properly contained the certified medical records, or was even readable by the court, pursuant to CPLR 2214[c]. Moreover, even if a readable CD-R were submitted on an earlier motion, the court is not be compelled, absent a rule providing otherwise, to locate previously submitted documents in the electronic record in considering subsequent motions.

Student note:  A physician moving for summary judgment dismissing a malpractice complaint must establish, prima facie, either that there was no departure from accept standards of practice, or that any alleged departure was not a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries. The burden shifts to the plaintiff to demonstrate the existence of a triable issue of fact only upon the defendant's meeting the initial burden, and only as to the elements on which the defendant met the prima facie burden.

Case:  Garrison v. Quirk, NY Slip Op 05947 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: Time limits on renewal of a judgment lien.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Residence and domicile, as they relate to venue.

Practice point:  Pursuant to CPLR 503(a), "the place of trial shall be in the county in which one of the parties resided when it was commenced." For venue purposes, a residence is where a party stays for some time with a bona fide intent to retain the place as a residence for some length of time and with some degree of permanency.  While residence means living in a particular place, domicile means living in that locality with intent to make it a fixed and permanent home..

Student note: In the context of determining proper venue, a party may have more than one residence

Case:  Deas v. Ahmed, NY Slip Op 05945 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: Documents in the electronic record in a medical malpractice action.