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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: October 4, 2014

Law Office Failure Good Cause for Failure Timely to Answer

On September 23, 2014, the First Department issued a decision in Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Braun, 2014 NY Slip Op. 06283, affirming a decision extending a defendant’s time to answer.

In Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance, the First Department affirmed the trial court’s decision denying the “plaintiffs’ motion for a default judgment and grant[ing] defendants’ cross motion for an extension of time to interpose an answer,” explaining:

Under the circumstances, although defendants’ assertion of law office failure is not particularly compelling, it constitutes good cause for the delay. There is no evidence that plaintiffs have been prejudiced, and the record shows that plaintiffs had previously agreed to an extension of time for defendants to answer. Contrary to plaintiffs’ contentions, a meritorious defense was not required for defendants to be granted an extension of time to answer.

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

As other decisions show, not all defendants who fail timely to answer are as lucky as the defendant here.

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