Monday, September 26, 2016

Judicial estoppel in a matrimonial action.

Practice point:  Sometimes called the doctrine of inconsistent positions, judidical estoppel precludes a party who assumed a certain position in a prior legal proceeding and who secured a favorable judgment from assuming a contrary position in another action simply because that party's interests have changed.

The doctrine is applicable in matrimonial actions, but in this case the Appellate Division held that the defendant was not judicially estopped from seeking an award of maintenance, as the parties were still married at the time the bankruptcy petitions were filed, and the defendant was not required to list any possible future rights to maintenance payments in the bankruptcy petitions, which were filed years before the judgment of divorce was issued.

Case:  Canzona v. Canzona, NY Slip Op 06055 (2d Dep't September 21, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Claims sounding in punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Labor Law liability for a fall from a scaffold or ladder.

Practice point:  Liability under § 240(1) depends upon whether the injury resulted from the failure to use, or the inadequacy of, a device within the purview of the statute. So, there can be no liability under § 240(1) when there is no violation and the worker's actions are the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Case:  Albino v. 221-223 W. 82 Owners Corp., NY Slip Op 05953 (1st Dep't September 8, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue:  Judicial estoppel in a matrimonial action.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A defendant files for summary judgment before plaintiff commences discovery.

Practice point:  Plaintiff's failure to commence discovery during the ten months between defendant's answer and defendant's motion to dismiss, without more, does not warrant granting the motion, pursuant to CPLR 3212(f), where the existing record does not negate plaintiff's theory of liability.

Case:  Gomez v. Kozot Realty Corp., NY Slip Op 06046 (1st Dep't September 15, 2016)

Tomorrow's issue: Labor Law liability for a fall from a scaffold or ladder.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Denial of defendant's summary judgment motion.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division reversed, and denied the motion to dismiss.  In support of their motion, defendants submitted, among other things, transcripts of the deposition testimony of both  plaintiff and defendant-driver. In those transcripts, the parties gave differing accounts of how the accident occurred, and there were issues of fact and credibility that could not be resolved on the motion. Given these issues, defendants failed to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.

Student note:  Since defendants failed to demonstrate their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the motion is denied without consideration of the sufficiency of plaintiff's opposition papers.

Case:  Chimbo v. Bolivar, NY Slip Op 05969 (2d Dep't September 14, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  A defendant files for summary judgment before plaintiff commences discovery.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A claim of retaliation under the State and City Human Rights Laws.

Practice Point:  The Appellate Division found that plaintiff stated the cause of action where he alleges that he was passed over for promotion because of his accent. The Appellate Division noted that plaintiff's accent is inextricably bound to his national origin. In addition, plaintiff alleges that defendants subjected him to excessive scrutiny as a result of his persistent applications for promotion, and that this led directly to his suspension and termination.

Case:  St. Jean Jeudy v. City of New York, NY Slip Op 06045 (1st Dep't September 15, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Denial of defendant's summary judgment motion.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Liability for negligent renovation of a party wall.

Practice point:  A property owner may be liable where, during renovation, the party wall is altered to the detriment of the adjoining property owner.  Where it is alleged that the damage was to the structural aspect of the wall, the property owner could be liable for weakening the wall, regardless of any care in performing the work. In addition, the property owner causing the alterations may be liable for trespass where the wall is penetrated.

Case:  Ehrenberg v. Regier, NY Slip Op 05938 (1st Dep't September 1, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  A claim of retaliation under the State and City Human Rights Laws.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The doctrine of laches.

Practice point:  Laches is an equitable doctrine which bars the enforcement of a right where there has been an unreasonable and inexcusable delay that results in prejudice to a party.  Prejudice may be demonstrated by a showing of injury, change of position, loss of evidence, or some other disadvantage resulting from the delay.

Case:  Diecidue v. Russo, NY Slip Op 05907 (2d Dep't August 31, 2016)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue:  Liability for negligent renovation of a party wall.