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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: April 15, 2017

Striking Answer as Discovery Sanction Upheld

On April 12, 2017, the Second Department issued a decision in Mears v. Long, 2017 NY Slip Op. 02782, affirming the striking of defendants’ answer as a discovery sanction, explaining:

The nature and degree of the sanction to be imposed on a motion pursuant to CPLR 3126 is within the broad discretion of the motion court. The striking of a pleading may be appropriate where there is a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery demands or court-ordered discovery is willful and contumacious. The willful and contumacious character of a party’s conduct can be inferred from the party’s repeated failure to comply with discovery demands or orders without a reasonable excuse.

Here, the defendants’ willful and contumacious conduct can be inferred from their repeated failures, without an adequate excuse, to comply with discovery demands and the Supreme Court’s discovery orders. Accordingly, the court providently exercised its discretion in granting the plaintiffs’ motion pursuant to CPLR 3126 to strike the defendants’ answer and for leave to enter a default judgment against the defendants.

(Internal citations omitted).

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