THIS WASN’T PRESTIGIOUS, AT ALL
After a nonpayment case was started against it, Prestige Catering filed a motion to dismiss alleging, among other things, that its "landlord," Chickery, lacked standing to maintain a summary proceeding and didn’t have the authority to sublease the space.
After its motion was denied, its answer was rejected as “untimely,” and a judgment in the amount of $91,656.45 was entered against it by the Queens County Civil Court, Prestige appealed.
On its review of the dispute, the Appellate Term, Second Department, reiterated the long-established rule that summary proceedings aren’t limited to fee owners or title-holders of property, and that any “lessor” has standing to seek eviction related relief. And since Chickey was able to show that it was authorized to sub-lease, any objection to its ability to bring a case was thought to have been correctly rebuffed.
As for the answer’s rejection, the AT2 also noted that the right to interpose a responsive pleading, after a pre-answer motion to dismiss is denied, is not automatic. Unlike in regular civil cases, where answers may be served as a matter of right, in a summary proceeding the court has the discretion to grant or deny a party leave to serve an answer. Since it believed that “permitting respondents to answer would have served no useful purpose,” the AT2 thought that the “Civil Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in declining to permit respondents to answer.”
Now how would you have answered that?
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