The Second Department determined the motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint because of plaintiffs failure to attend depositions should have been granted:
A court may, inter alia, issue an order “prohibiting the disobedient party . . . from producing in evidence . . . items of testimony” or “striking out pleadings” as a sanction against a party who “refuses to obey an order for disclosure or wilfully fails to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosed” (CPLR 3126, ). Before a court invokes the drastic remedy of striking a pleading or the alternative remedy of precluding evidence, there must be a clear showing that the failure to comply with court-ordered discovery was willful and contumacious … . While the nature and degree of the penalty to be imposed on a motion pursuant to CPLR 3126 is a matter generally left to the discretion of the Supreme Court … , the Appellate Division is vested with its own discretion and corresponding power to substitute its own discretion for that of the trial court, even in the absence of abuse … .
Here, in opposition to the appellants’ motion to dismiss the complaint, the plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that the infant plaintiff resides in Georgia and was unable to travel to New York on his own. The plaintiffs’ counsel did not proffer any excuse as to why the remaining plaintiffs could not appear for court-ordered depositions. The willful and contumacious character of the plaintiffs’ conduct can be inferred from their failures to comply with several court orders over a period of one year and five months directing them to appear for depositions, and the lack of a reasonable excuse for those failures … . That the infant plaintiff and his parents had made themselves unavailable does not preclude the dismissal of the complaint … . Harris v City of New York, 2014 NY Slip Op 03486, 2nd Dept 5-14-14