Thursday, July 31, 2014

A motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute is denied.

Practice point:  On receipt of plaintiffs' 90-day notice, defendants did not file a note of issue within 90 days.. However, plaintiffs refused certain requests to schedule a continued deposition of the injured defendant, and, after the notice was served, both parties demonstrated an intent to proceed with discovery. Further, there is no evidence that plaintiffs were prejudiced by the minimal delay involved in this case, nor is there a pattern of persistent neglect and delay in prosecuting the action. Neither is there any indication of an intent to abandon the action. Under these circumstances, the Appellate Division affirmed the Supreme Court's exercise of its discretion in excusing defendants' failure to meet the deadline for filing the note of issue.

Student note:  CPLR 3216 is extremely forgiving in that it does not require, but merely authorizes, the Supreme Court to dismiss a plaintiff's action based on the plaintiff's unreasonable neglect to proceed. While the statute prohibits the Supreme Court from dismissing an action based on neglect to proceed whenever the plaintiff has shown a justifiable excuse for the delay in the prosecution of the action and a meritorious cause of action, such a dual showing is not strictly necessary to avoid dismissal.

Case:  Altman v. Donnenfeld, NY Slip Op 05402 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: An injured firefighter's suit sounding in negligence.