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When a personal-injury case was settled with Bradley Corporate Park, the parties executed a release which extended to "their successors and assigns, and all persons, firms, or corporations who are or might be vicariously liable ... from all claims of any kind."

When the plaintiff in that case later filed a new lawsuit, he alleged that Bradley Corporate Park was a “fictitious” name and that the parties named in the new case were the ones that were “vicariously liable” for the injuries he sustained.

When those defendants moved [pursuant to 3211(a)] to dismiss the case, based on the release, the Rockland County Supreme Court granted that relief. And an appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department, was of the view that the release was “unambiguous,” and that it barred “any causes of action alleging that the defendants [were] vicariously liable for his injuries.”

That the underlying motion did not cite to the precise CPLR section in question was of no moment, as the AD2 felt that the court below was free to deem the application as having been made under the correct ground, [CPLR3211(a)(5)], particularly in the absence of any “prejudice,” which had not been demonstrated in this case.

Think it’s time to let go?

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O. v. M.