On December 10, 2013, the First Department issued a decision in GoSMILE, Inc. v. Levine, 2013 NY Slip Op. 08215, affirming the denial of a motion to compel because of the movant’s delay in making the motion.
In GoSMILE, the plaintiff served a document demand on May 4, 2009. Defendant objected to producing documents generated after January 28, 2009, the date on which the action was commenced. Plaintiff “subsequently served new discovery demands, seeking documents generated before March 29, 2010.” Defendant once again objected to producing documents generated after January 28, 2009. On February 28, 2012–approximately two and a half years after defendant’s initial objection–plaintiff moved to compel the production of the documents withheld based on that objection. The trial court–based on a Special Referee’s recommendation–denied the motion. The First Department affirmed the denial, writing:
The record supports the Special Referee’s conclusion, adopted by Supreme Court, that the delay in seeking to compel, coupled with the absence of any rational reason or excuse, is nothing less than a constructive waiver to compel compliance of an original demand made in June 2009, and rejected by defendant.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted).
There are often good and reasonable reasons for litigators to delay making a motion to compel. As GoSMILE shows, however, without a sound justification, Commercial Division justices may have little patience for such delay.