Cea v Matthew

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Cea v Matthew 2018 NY Slip Op 33249(U) December 12, 2018 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 160558/2016 Judge: Lisa A. Sokoloff Cases posted with a "30000" identifier, i.e., 2013 NY Slip Op 30001(U), are republished from various New York State and local government sources, including the New York State Unified Court System's eCourts Service. This opinion is uncorrected and not selected for official publication. [*FILED: 1] NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 12/17/2018 04:29 PM NYSCEF DOC. NO. 35 INDEX NO. 160558/2016 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 12/17/2018 SUPREME COURT OF THE S ATI: OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK Index No. 160558/2016 SANDRA CEA, Motion Seq. l DECISION AND ORDER -againstGREGORY MATTHEW, NE\\ YO CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY, MTA BUS CO PA Y and METROPOLITAN TRANSIT UT ORITY, Reciiation, as required by C motion: R 2 19(a), ofthe papers considered in the review ofthis Numbered 1 2 Papers Plaintiff's Motion for Defaul Jud Defendant •s Cross-Motion/I . Plaintiff's Reply Affirmati01 3 NYCEF# 7-18 20-28 29-30 LISA A. SOKOLOFF, J. This is an action by Plai iff , andra Cea to recover damages for personal injuries sustained in an accident on NO\ mbe 11, 2015 when the motor vehicle Plaintiff was driving was stopped by a c~nst1 ctio worker and struck in the rear by a Defendant New York City Transit Authority (T1 · sit bus operated by Defendant Gregory Matthew (Matthew) at 125th Street at its ·1 ters ction with Lenox Avenue. Plaintiff commenced thi" acti n by filing a Summons and Complaint on Decembel' 16, 2016. Defendant Matthew\ s rved on December 30, 2016 and· an affidavit of service was electronically filed< n F bruary 7, 2017. Matthew was served a second time on January 11, 2017 and an affida 't of ·ervice was filed on April 3, 2017. r 1 of 6 [*FILED: 2] NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 12/17/2018 04:29 PM NYSCEF DOC. NO. 35 INDEX NO. 160558/2016 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 12/17/2018 Plaintiff now moves p rsua t to CPLR § 3215(a) and (b) for a default judgment Authority (sued herein as "M op litan Transit Authority") (collectively, "Transit Defendants") oppose and cros mo e pursuant to CPLR § 321 l(a)(8), to dismiss all claims against Matthew as the court l cks ersonal jurisdiction over Matthew because Plaintiff failed to complete service wit n 1 0 days after the commencement of the action as required by CPLR § 306-b, or nth alternative, pursuant to CPLR § 3215(c), on the ground that Plaintiff failed to · e roceedings for the entry of judgment within one year after the default. On February 7, 2017, aint ff electronically filed an Affidavit ofService, virtualiy illegible, via New York State ourt' Electronic Filing system (NYSCEF) setting forth that Matthew was served on Dece er 0, 2016 by James M. Geiger, a resident of North . Carolina, who delivered a cop · oft e Summons and Complaint to Michael Balcer, who , identified himself as Matthew' · ste son, at 601 N. Mulberr Rd, Shallotte, NC 28740 (Pt Matthew Affidavit of Service) An ther Affidavit of Service, setting forth identical information except on Geiger but attached as part of Exhibit ves igative Services letterhead, was not filed by Plaintiff, to >lainti:trs motion. This method of service n rv atthew, presumably pursuant to CPLR § 313, New York's long-arm statute, permi ed elivery to a person of suitable age and discretion. However, with respect to the p rson permitted to serve process in the foreign jurisdiction, there were only three options the age of 18 and not a party tc aila le: ( 1) any person who is a resident of New York over e <ction (CPLR 2103[a]); (2) any person authorized to 2 2 of 6 [*FILED: 3] NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 12/17/2018 04:29 PM NYSCEF DOC. NO. 35 INDEX NO. 160558/2016 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 12/17/2018 make service under the law o ej qualified attorney, solicitor, b ·st r or the equivalent in the other jllrisdiction (Vincent Alexander, Practice Commen < ·sdiction where service is to be made; and (3) any ·es McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, CPLR §313). It is not s rver, James M. Geiger, a North Carolina resident clear to the court that the proc SS according to the 1st Matthew ffid< vit of Service, was authorized to serve process on 1 Matthew. Even assuming this m hod of service was proper, CPLR § 3215(c) requires that the court dismiss a complaint ab· doned if a plaintiff fails to take proceedings for the entry of judgment within one ar <fter a default unless sufficient cause is shown why the complaint should not be dism ·. sed. A party seeking to vacate a default must demonstrate both a reasonable excuse and l e e istence of a meritorious defense (US Bank Nat. Ass'n v Brown, 147 AD3d 428 [lst D 2 17)]. According to the 1st M tthe v Affidavit of Service, personal service was made on Defendant Matthew on Decen r 30, 2016. Matthew was allowed 30 days to answer (CPLR § 3012[c]), but an ans er v. as never interposed on his behalf and he is now in default of pleading. Thus, Plai tiff as required to move for default within one year from January 29, 2017, or by Janua 30, 2018 and failed to do so. · With regard to a merit ·ou. cause of action, the Transit Defendants argue correctly that because Transit would be icar ously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior atthew whiie acting in the scope of his duties (Neiger for any negligent act committ by v City ofNew York, 72 AD3d 3 [ nd Dept 2010]; Public Authorities Law§ 1212[3]), there is no merit to a cause of against Matthew as an individually named defendant. The Transit Defendants have , d in their Verified Answer that the bus was operated by Matthew with the permissi( consent of Transit. Although Matthew was an 3 3 of 6 [*FILED: 4] NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 12/17/2018 04:29 PM NYSCEF DOC. NO. 35 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 12/17/2018 by Matthew with the permissi n employee of Manhattan and INDEX NO. 160558/2016 1 consent of Transit. Although Matthew was an onx Surface Transit Operating Authority ("MABSTOA") and acting within the scope o1 is e ployment as a bus operator for MABSTOA, Transit would nonetheless be vicariot , ly Ii ble for any of Matthew's alleged negligent action by the principal-agent relationshi here conduct falls within the scope of the agents' authority, everything they kn o is imputed to their principals" (Kirschner v KPMG LLP, 15 NY3d 446 [2010]). Accordingly, Plaintiff "lee to show sufficient cause to defeat Defendants' dismissal motion because he ithe · set forth a viable excuse for the delay nor demonstrated a meritorious c se o action against Matthew. On April 3, 2017, Plai iff lectronically filed an Affidavit of Service via NYSCEF setting forth that service was 1 ade pon Matthew, pursuant to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) § 253 or 2 , b.' a process server who personally delivered a copy of the Summons and Complaint Ja1 ua:rY 11, 2017 to Loriette Powell on behalf of the Secretary of State of the State ( f N w York, and notice of such service was sent to Matthew, by certified maii, at 01 . Mulberry Rd, Shallotte, NC 28470 ("2nd Matthew Affidavit of Service"). Althou ) th 2°d Matthew Affidavit of Service states that Defendant Matthew received the certifie ail on March 30, 2017, the USPS tracking printout, which was not filed, shows that it wa ·deli ered on January 30, 2017 (Exhibit B to Plaintiff's submission). According to VTL § 2 affidavit of compliance with tl , Pl intiffwas required to file with the clerk of the court an ser ice requirements, a copy of the summons @d complaint and a~turn receipt, igne by the· defendant or someone authorized to sign on his behalf (VTL § 253[2]). He , ho ever, Plaintiff electronically filed only the 2nd 4 4 of 6 [*FILED: 5] NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 12/17/2018 04:29 PM NYSCEF DOC. NO. 35 INDEX NO. 160558/2016 RECEIVED NYSCEF: 12/17/2018 Matthew Affidavit of Service ·th ut attaching the return receipt, or the USPS tracking by Plaintiff, as required by th te. Nor has Plaintiff complied with CPLR § 306-b which requires service of the ns and complaint be made within 120 days after cOm.mencement of the action. Plaintiff failed to comply with YTL § 253 and CPLR § 306-b, the action must be disn as against Matthew for lack of personal jurisdiction. Accordingly, it s ORDERED, th Matthew is DENIBD and the Pla'ntiffs motion for default judgment as against Gregory oss- otion by New York City Transit Authority, MTA Bus improper and the ·coort· lacks Any other requested re I ef n t expressly granted is denied. · Dated: December 12, 2018 New York, New York CHECK ONE: APPllCATION: CHECK IF APPROPRIATE: ~ CASEI GRAN Sffil INCLU E D D NON.·FINAL DISPOSITION. OiNl£D GRANTED IN PART SUBMIT ORDER ER TRA~ 5 5 of 6 . FIDUCIARY APPOINTMENT D D OTHER REFmNCE