The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Kennedy, overruling precedent, determined that the failure to timely file a certificate of merit pursuant to CPLR 3012-a in a medical malpractice action does not require dismissal of the action. In addition, a showing that the action has merit and an excuse for failing to file are not necessary when seeking an extension for filing:
Had the legislature intended to permit dismissal for failure to comply with CPLR 3012-a, the statute would empower the court to do so … . Accordingly, the sanction of dismissal is not authorized and to the extent that this Court’s decisions in Blasoff v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. (147 AD3d 481), Grad v Hafliger (68 AD3d 543), George v St. John’s Riverside Hosp. (162 AD2d 140), and Perez v Lenox Hill Hosp. (159 AD2d 251) are not in accord with the foregoing, they should no longer be followed.
Moreover, generally, a showing of a meritorious action and a reasonable excuse is required to vacate a pleading default and the failure to make this showing necessarily mandates dismissal of the pleading. However, since this sanction is improper in the context of a CPLR 3012-a violation, it follows that the failure to comply with this provision is not a pleading default and a plaintiff is not required to make this showing … .Accordingly, a showing of a meritorious action through the submission of an affidavit of merit and a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with CPLR 3012-a is not required to obtain an extension of time to comply with the statute. Fortune v New York City Health & Hosps. Corps., 2021 NY Slip Op 01122, First Dept 2-18-21