The Second Department determined the complaint stated a cause of action for specific performance of a real estate contract. The court offered a clear explanation of the analytical criteria to be used when defendant submits evidence in support of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action. Here, the fact that plaintiff submitted no evidence in opposition was of no consequence. The evidence submitted by defendant was not sufficient to demonstrate, as a matter of law, the complaint did not state a cause of action:
In considering a motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), “the court must accept the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, accord plaintiffs the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory” … . “Whether a plaintiff can ultimately establish its allegations is not part of the calculus” … .
“A court is . . . permitted to consider evidentiary material submitted by a defendant in support of a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7)” … . However, “on a motion made pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), the burden never shifts to the nonmoving party to rebut a defense asserted by the moving party” …, and a plaintiff “will not be penalized because he [or she] has not made an evidentiary showing in support of his [or her] complaint” … . When evidentiary material is considered on a motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), and the motion has not been converted to one for summary judgment, “the criterion is whether the [plaintiff] has a cause of action, not whether he [or she] has stated one, and, unless it has been shown that a material fact as claimed by the [plaintiff] to be one is not a fact at all and unless it can be said that no significant dispute exists regarding it . . . dismissal should not eventuate” … .
Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the complaint adequately alleged a cause of action for specific performance of a contract for the sale of real property. E & D Group, LLC v Vialet, 2015 NY Slip Op 09400, 2nd Dept 12-23-15
CIVIL PROCEDURE (MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CAUSE OF ACTION, BURDEN NEVER SHIFTS TO PLAINTIFF EVEN IF DEFENDANT SUBMITS EVIDENCE)/MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CAUSE OF ACTION (BURDEN NEVER SHIFTS TO PLAINTIFF EVEN IF DEFENDANT SUBMITS EVIDENCE)