Plaintiff sued under Judiciary Law § 487 and was promptly the subject of sanctions and dismissal. Supreme Court granted both, and an appeal ensued. In Liang v Wei Ji 2017 NY Slip Op 08361
Decided on November 29, 2017 Appellate Division, Second Department, the Court affirmed because plaintiff had previously been enjoined from starting any actions without prior permission. The Sanction was upheld because defendant had specifically made a motion for sanctions.
“NYCRR 130-1.1 for the imposition of a sanction in the amount of $160 against the plaintiff. The Supreme Court, inter alia, granted that branch of the motion which was for a sanction and, sua sponte, directed dismissal of the complaint on the ground that it violated a prior order dated September 19, 2012, issued in an action entitled Liang v Yi Jing Tan, commenced in the Supreme Court, Queens County, under Index No. 8155/12, which enjoined the plaintiff from commencing any action related to that apartment without prior leave of court. The plaintiff appeals.
Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, the Supreme Court properly directed dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff commenced this action in violation of the order dated September 19, 2012. Public policy generally mandates free access to the courts (see Vogelgesang v Vogelgesang, 71 AD3d 1132, 1134; Sassower v Signorelli, 99 AD2d 358, 359). However, a party may forfeit that right if he or she abuses the judicial process by engaging in [*2]meritless litigation motivated by spite or ill will (see Duffy v Holt-Harris, 260 AD2d 595; Matter of Shreve v Shreve, 229 AD2d 1005). Here, there was ample basis to support the court’s determination to dismiss this action and prevent the plaintiff from engaging in further vexatious litigation.
The plaintiff’s contention that he was not given an opportunity to be heard on that branch of the defendants’ motion which was for the imposition of a sanction is without merit. Under 22 NYCRR 130-1.1(d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made either upon motion in compliance with CPLR 2214 or 2215 or upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The form of the hearing shall depend upon the nature of the conduct and the circumstances of the case.” Here, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint and also for imposition of a sanction. The plaintiff was given notice of the motion, and he had a reasonable opportunity to be heard in opposition thereto (see Matter of Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Dutch Church of City of N.Y. v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411, 413; Duncan v Popoli, 105 AD3d 803, 804-805).”