The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that the respondent candidates’ answer should not have been stricken based upon alleged defects in the verification and denials and petitioner did not have standing to contest the designating petition because she did not reside in the town where the single challenged candidate was running for office:
CPLR 3026 provides that “[p]leadings shall be liberally construed” and that “[d]efects shall be ignored if a substantial right of a party is not prejudiced.” Here, we conclude that petitioner did not establish substantial prejudice from any alleged defect in the verification, and thus candidate respondents’ answer should not have been stricken on that ground … . Moreover, “the CPLR does not provide for the striking of improper denials” … .
Furthermore, we note that candidate respondents properly raised standing as an affirmative defense in their April 24 answer, and we agree with candidate respondents that petitioner lacked standing to commence this proceeding pursuant to Election Law article 16. A condition precedent to commencing a proceeding as an objector pursuant to section 16-102 is compliance with the requirements of section 6-154, including that the objector be a “voter registered to vote for such public office” (§ 6-154 ).
Here, petitioner served her specifications of objections upon Vickman and upon the chairwoman and the secretary of the Party only, and not on any of the other candidate respondents listed on the authorization. Petitioner, however, lacked standing to challenge the designating petition of Vickman or to challenge the authorization as it pertained to Vickman, who was running for public office in the Town of Farmersville, because petitioner was not a resident of that town … . Matter of Augostini v Bernstein, 2019 NY Slip Op 04312, Fourth Dept 5-30-19