The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s did not demonstrate they did not receive notice of the summons in time to defend the action, and did not demonstrate a reasonable excuse for the default. Therefore defendants’ motion to vacate the default judgment should not have been granted:
Pursuant to CPLR 317, a defaulting defendant that was “served with a summons, other than by personal delivery” may be permitted to defend the action upon a finding by the court that the defendant did not personally receive notice of the summons in time to defend and has a meritorious defense … . Service on a limited liability company by delivery of the pleadings to the Secretary of State does not constitute personal delivery … . “The mere denial of receipt of the summons and complaint is not sufficient to establish lack of actual notice of the action in time to defend for the purpose of CPLR 317” … .
The affidavit … submitted by the … defendants in support of their motion, amounted to nothing more than a mere denial of receipt of the summons and complaint … . … [T]he … defendants did not contend that the address it had on file with the Secretary of State was incorrect … .
… [T]he … defendants’ mere denial of receipt of the summons and complaint, without more, was insufficient to demonstrate a reasonable excuse for its default pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) … .Andrews v Wartburg Receiver, LLC, 2022 NY Slip Op 01980, Second Dept 2-23-22
Practice Point: A denial of the receipt of the summons and complaint, without more, does not demonstrate actual notice of the summons was not received in time to defend, and does not demonstrate a reasonable excuse for a defaulting.