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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: June 5, 2019

Action Properly Dismissed in Favor of Prior Pending Action

On May 29, 2019, the Second Department issued a decision in JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Luxama, 2019 NY Slip Op. 04149, holding that an action was properly dismissed in favor of a prior pending action, explaining:

Pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(4), a court has broad discretion in determining whether an action should be dismissed based upon another pending action where there is a substantial identity of the parties, the two actions are sufficiently similar, and the relief sought is substantially the same. It is not necessary that the precise legal theories presented in the first action also be presented in the second action [so] long as the relief is the same or substantially the same. While a complete identity of parties is not a necessity for dismissal under CPLR 3211(a)(4), there must at least be a substantial identity of parties, which generally is present when at least one plaintiff and one defendant is common in each action.

This action and the prior 2011 action both arise from the same subject matter and alleged wrongs, and involve substantial identity of the parties and similarity of claims. The plaintiff’s claims may be fully litigated in the 2011 action. Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination to grant the defendant’s motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(4) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against her and to deny, as academic, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the complaint insofar asserted against the defendant.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

This decision shows that sometimes (but not always) a court will dismiss a duplicative lawsuit. The question, of course, often turns on whether the lawsuit is truly duplicative. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have a question about whether one of multiple lawsuits should be dismissed as duplicative.

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