On August 14, 2020, Justice Knipel of the Kings County Commercial Division issued a decision in Atilgan v. Azuz, 2020 NY Slip Op. 32734(U), holding that a party’s death stays an action until a replacement substitutes in, explaining:
The death of a party divests the court of jurisdiction and stays the proceedings until a proper substitution has been made pursuant to CPLR 1015(a). Moreover, any determination rendered without such substitution will generally be deemed a nullity. Hence, where a proper substitution had not been made, Supreme Court should not have determined the merits of the plaintiffs motion, even to the extent that the plaintiff sought relief against the other defendants.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).
New York procedural law (including the special rules applying to litigation in the Commercial Division of the New York courts) is not particularly complex. Still, there are procedural rules and as this decision illustrates, if a litigant ignores them, it can waste time and money. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or a client have questions regarding New York practice, and particularly regarding the rules governing practice in the Commercial Division.
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