THE LANDLORD’S SUMMARY PROCEEDING WAS PROPERLY BROUGHT IN SUPREME COURT BECAUSE COVID EXECUTIVE ORDERS PROHIBITED BRINGING THE ACTION IN CIVIL COURT; ALTHOUGH SUA SPONTE ORDERS ARE NOT APPEALABLE, THE NOTICE OF APPEAL WAS DEEMED A MOTION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL (FIRST DEPT).
The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined Supreme Court should not have dismissed the landlord’s summary proceeding on the ground that it should have been brought in Civil Court, not Supreme Court. COVID-related Executive Orders prohibited actions for nonpayment of rent in Civil Court. The First Department noted that a sua sponte order is not appealable as of right, but deemed the notice of appeal to be a request for leave to appeal which was granted:
The motion court erred in sua sponte dismissing the complaint on the ground that this action was a landlord-tenant dispute that should have been brought as a summary proceeding in Civil Court. Supreme Court has unlimited general jurisdiction over all real property actions, including those commenced by a landlord against a tenant (NY Const, art VI, § 7[a] …). Supreme Court, however, has the discretion to decline to entertain such an action on the ground that a pending action in Civil Court was the proper forum … .
Here, Supreme Court was the appropriate forum for this action to recover rental arrears because the Executive Orders implemented in response to the pandemic precluded the landlord from commencing a nonpayment proceeding in Civil Court during the relevant period, compelling the landlord to commence this action. A&L 1664 LLC v Jaspar Hospitality LLC, 2022 NY Slip Op 00264, First Dept 1-18-22