Commercial Division to Adopt New Rule Requiring Interlineation of Responsive Pleadings

Effective September 12, 2022, the New York Commercial Division Rules will require parties preparing responsive pleadings to “interlineate” the allegations which they are responding to within the responses themselves. Under new rule 202.70(g), titled “Interlineation of Responsive Pleadings”, counsel will essentially be required to restate the allegations of the complaint before responding to them in an answer. The rule change will likewise apply to answers to counter-claims and cross-claims.

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Judgment Creditors Beware: Moving For Contempt May Be Within Reach, But Difficult To Grasp

In the New York County Commercial Division, Justice David B. Cohen’s ruling in B&M Kingstone, LLC v. Mega Int’l Comm. Bank Ltd., 2022 NY Slip Op. 30481(U) (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty. 2022) makes clear that New York courts can compel New York branches of non-US banks to disclose information relating to accounts or assets held by branches outside of the United States. It also demonstrates that obtaining such information through judgment enforcement procedures can prove difficult. Continue Reading

The Changing Landscape of Electronic Service

For a moment in March 2020, litigation stopped abruptly when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in New York. Within a matter of weeks, the New York State Courts shifted to online operations and, amazingly, the administration of justice continued virtually. Now, nearly two years later, the use of technology to conduct remote hearings and conferences is firmly entrenched in the legal community of New York, making it possible for judges, their support staff, attorneys and litigants to litigate from anywhere with Internet access.

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New York Courts Continue to Enforce Broad General Releases, Even When Claims are Unforeseeable at the Time of Contract Execution

In Chadha v. Wahedna, 2021 NY Slip Op. 50509(U) (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty. 2021), Justice Ostrager of the New York County Commercial Division, dismissed Plaintiff Nilsa Chadha’s (“Plaintiff”) claims in their entirety due to Plaintiff’s execution of a general release.

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Signing Contracts as a Representative May Lead to Individual Liability

Tharunidhar Narravula et al v. Perosphere Technologies, Inc. et al, Index No. 900410-21, Supreme Court, Albany County

In Narravula v. Perosphere Tech., 2021 NY Slip Op 50510(U) (Sup. Ct. Albany Cnty. 2021), Justice Richard M. Platkin of the Albany County Commercial Division reinforced the textbook rule that that an individual who signs a contract as an agent for an undisclosed entity can be held personally liable on the contract if the agency relationship is not disclosed.

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The Second Department Weighs in on Tolling vs. Suspension of Statutes of Limitation Pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s COVID-era Executive Orders

In “Governor Cuomo’s “Tolling” of New York Statutes of Limitation Has Ended, But What Did It Accomplish?”, we examined the debate surrounding whether Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.8 and subsequent orders up to and including Executive Order No. 202.67, which extended Executive Order No. 202.8 (collectively, the “Executive Orders”), actually tolled New York statutes of limitation and other litigation deadlines for the period of March 20, 2020 through November 3, 2020, or merely suspended them.  For purposes of determining whether a claim or an appeal was timely filed, the answer to this question can have huge implications.  If the Executive Orders merely accomplished a suspension, then any claim or filing deadline that would have otherwise lapsed during the period of March 20, 2020 through November 3, 2020 would need to have been filed no later than November 4, 2020—the day after the suspension period ended.  On the other hand, if the effect of the Executive Orders was a true tolling of the statutes of limitation and other court deadlines, then any time that remained on the limitations period as of March 20, 2020 would be added back (and start to run again) once the limitations period resumed on November 4, 2020.

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Albany Commercial Division Looks Beyond “First-In-Time” Analysis When Considering Dismissal Pursuant to CPLR § 3211(a)(4)

Mac Parent LLC v. North American Elite Insurance Company, Index No. 906489/2020, Supreme Court, Albany County

On March 29, 2021, Justice Richard J. Platkin, of the Albany County Commercial Division, dismissed an insurance coverage dispute pursuant to CPLR § 3211(a)(4) due to another action that was pending in New York County, making clear that New York courts do not tolerate forum-shopping in the face of clear forum selection clauses.  Mac Parent LLC v. North American Elite Insurance Company, 2021 NY Slip Op 50268(U) (Sup. Ct. Albany Cnty 2021). Continue Reading

Commercial Division Limits the Reach of New York’s Long-Arm Statute

In Black Diamond Aviation Grp. LLC v. Spirit Avionics, Ltd., 70 Misc. 3d 823 (Sup. Ct. Suffolk Cnty. 2020), Justice James Hudson of the Suffolk County Commercial Division limited the reach of New York’s long-arm statute, CPLR 302, in granting a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction where the contract at issue was negotiated via emails between Ohio and Connecticut and no business was performed in New York.  The plaintiff argued that the Court had jurisdiction over defendant pursuant to CPLR 302(a)(1), which provides, in pertinent part, that a party will be subject to the jurisdiction of New York courts if it is a non-domiciliary who transacts business within New York or contracts anywhere to supply goods or services in New York.  The plaintiff alleged that because the defendant’s subcontractor performed certain work in New York, the defendant was subject to jurisdiction under CPLR 302(a)(1).  In rejecting this argument, the Suffolk County Commercial Division follows a familiar line of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence limiting a court’s jurisdictional reach where the defendant has no connection to the forum state. Continue Reading

The New Normal? An Update On Commercial Division Operations

COVID-19 has ushered in a new era for litigation in the Commercial Division. Here are the key developments litigants should be aware of.

Remote Appearances and No Paper Copies

In May 2020, e-filing in the Commercial Division resumed in earnest, with a few important differences from the status quo ante:

  1. Most, if not all, appearances in the Commercial Division are proceeding remotely via Microsoft Teams. While the Commercial Division encourages parties to conduct virtual evidentiary hearings and non-jury trials, in-person jury trials will resume on March 22, 2021.
  2. Per Administrative Order AO/267/20, paper copies of motions and other documents in e-filed cases are not required in the Commercial Division until further notice. Several Commercial Division Justices in New York County, including Justice Schecter, Justice Masley, and Justice Ostrager, have updated their individual rules to note that working copies are no longer required.
  3. Foreclosure proceedings and eviction proceedings continue to be subject to restrictions and modified procedures pursuant to various statutes, Executive Orders, and/or Administrative Orders from the Court.

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Governor Cuomo’s “Tolling” of New York Statutes of Limitation Has Ended, But What Did It Accomplish?

Statutes of limitation were “tolled” in New York by Executive Order No. 202.8, issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on March 20, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over the next six-and-a-half months, that toll was renewed by further executive order every 30 days until, on October 4, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 202.67, announcing that the tolling order would be extended for only one more 30-day period—“until November 3, 2020, and after such date [statutes of limitation] will no longer be tolled.” Continue Reading

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