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Posted: September 5, 2016

For Relation Back Under CPLR 205, “Prior Action” Must Have Been in New York

On August 26, 2016, Justice Scarpulla of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Petroleum v. Trafigura AG, 2016 NY Slip Op. 31656(U), holding that a new action did not relate back to a prior, dismissed, action in California under CPLR 205, explaining:

Plaintiff argues that its claims are timely because the statute of limitations was tolled by the filing of its prior action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on May 30, 2012. In that action, the district court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint based on an exclusive New York forum selection clause in the Product Supply Agreement, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal.

CPLR § 205(a) provides that if an action is timely commenced and is terminated in any other manner than by a voluntary discontinuance, a failure to obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant, a dismissal of the complaint for neglect to prosecute the action, or a final judgment upon the merits, the plaintiff may commence a new action upon the same transaction or occurrence within six months after the termination provided that the new action would have been timely commenced at the time of commencement of the prior action. Although Plaintiff asserts that the statute of limitations on its claims were tolled pursuant to CPLR § 205(a), the California Action is not a “prior action” under this provision. A “prior action” must be an action commenced in New York state or federal court.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).

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