The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the insurer’s (State Farm’s) notice and petition to stay arbitration was not served within the required 20 days and was not properly served. The petition therefore should have been dismissed:
… [T]he insured, Joyce Reid, sent State Farm Insurance Company (hereinafter State Farm) a demand for supplemental underinsured motorist (hereinafter SUM) arbitration, which was received by State Farm on February 14, 2019. On March 22, 2019, State Farm filed a notice of petition and petition seeking to temporarily stay the arbitration pending the completion of pre-arbitration discovery. That notice and petition were served upon counsel for Reid by first-class mail on March 22, 2019. …
CPLR 7503(c) requires that an application to stay arbitration be made within 20 days after service of a demand to arbitrate. “This limitation is strictly enforced and a court has no jurisdiction to entertain an untimely application” … . CPLR 7503(c) also directs that notice of an application to stay arbitration “shall be served in the same manner as a summons or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.”
… State Farm did not file its notice of petition and petition until March 22, 2019, which was beyond the 20-day statute of limitations. Consequently, the proceeding is time-barred … .
Moreover, State Farm’s notice of petition and petition to stay arbitration were served by regular first-class mail, rather than by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Since there was a lack of compliance with CPLR 7503(c), the present proceeding was jurisdictionally defective … . Matter of State Farm Ins. Co. v Reid, 2020 NY Slip Op 03517, Second Dept 6-24-20