Citing a “strong public policy to dispose of cases on their merits” the Appellate Division First Department reversed in Cornwall Warehousing, Inc. v Lerner 2019 NY Slip Op 02825
Decided on April 16, 2019.
“Plaintiffs demonstrated a reasonable excuse for their default (CPLR 5015[a]), based on law office failure, as detailed in the affirmation of their former counsel who miscalendared the motion (CPLR 2005; People’s United Bank v Latini Tuxedo Mgt., LLC, 95 AD3d 1285, 1286 [2d Dept 2012]). Plaintiffs then moved to vacate the order entered on their default, showing that they had a meritorious defense to the underlying motion to strike their complaint pursuant to CPLR 3126 (c), since they were not in default of any disclosure order (see John Quealy Irrevocable Life Ins. Trust v AXA Equit. Life Ins. Co., 151 AD3d 592, 593 [1st Dept 2017], lv dismissed 30 NY3d 1091 ; DaimlerChrysler Ins. Co. v Seck, 82 AD3d 581, 582 [1st Dept 2011]). Plaintiffs also demonstrated a potentially meritorious cause of action by providing the affidavit of their president setting forth the basis of their legal malpractice claim (see Cheri Rest., Inc. v Eoche, 144 AD3d 578, 579-580 [1st Dept 2016]).
In light of the strong public policy of this State to dispose of cases on their merits, the court improvidently exercised its discretion in denying plaintiffs’ motion to vacate the order entered on default (DaimlerChrysler Ins. Co. v Seck, 82 AD3d at 582; see Chelli v Kelly Group, P.C., 63 AD3d 632 [1st Dept 2009]).”