While one might think that the professional negligence field, which probably includes attorneys, brokers, real estate professionals, insurance professionals and designers has the same rules for all, that would be incorrect. Murphy v GHD, Inc. 2019 NY Slip Op 33476(U) November 27, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 153468/2019
Judge: Robert D. Kalish illustrates the application of CPLR 214(d) to licensed engineers and architects.
In cases involving cases alleging design defects brought more than 10 years after completion, a heightened level of proof is required.
“CPLR 214-d and 321 l(h) were added by the Legislature in 1996 to reform
New York’s tort law, which, at the time, “tended to facilitate marginal claims against design professionals based on defects arising long after their work was completed and the improvements for which they were initially responsible had been in the owner’s possession and subject to the owner’s use and maintenance.” (Castle Vil. Owners Corp. v Greater New York Mut. Ins. Co., 58 AD3d 178, 183 [1st Dept 2008] [Lippman, P.J.]; see also Vincent C. Alexander, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, CPLR 214-d  [“The purpose of CPLR 214-d is to provide ‘an expedited procedural device to quickly dispose of cases brought against a design professional more than ten years after completion that lack a basis in substantial evidence.'” [quoting Legislative Memorandum at 2614].) As the First Department
has further explained:
“The ‘substantial basis’ standard set forth in CPLR 321 l(h) constitutes a departure from the standard ordinarily applicable to the review of CPLR 3211 motions to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action. Rather than determine whether the allegations of the complaint when viewed most favorably to the plaintiff fall within any cognizable legal theory, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under CPLR 3211(h) must
look beyond the face of the pleadings to determine whether the claim alleged is supported by ‘such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact’ (Senate Mem. in Support at 2614). While under this standard a plaintiff need not demonstrate that the claim is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, a fair inference to be drawn from the legislative history is
that CPLR 321 l(h) was intended to heighten the court’s scrutiny of the complaint and thereby make it easier to dismiss a CPLR 214–d action than other types of negligence actions.”