The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s motion to vacate the order dismissing the action based on plaintiff’s failure to appear at conferences or file a stipulation outlining discovery should have been granted. The parties had already stipulated to to restore the action to the calendar and the court should have enforced the stipulation:
The motion court improvidently exercised its discretion when it denied plaintiff’s motion to vacate the order for failure to appear at conferences or to file a stipulation outlining the remaining discovery … . Defendants had already stipulated to restore the matter to the calendar, and stipulations between the parties are binding on the parties and generally enforced by the courts … . Moreover, the assertion by plaintiff’s counsel that two of the court’s notices were inadvertently routed to counsel’s spam folder constitutes an excusable law office failure … . Nor is there evidence in the record that counsel has engaged in a pattern of dilatory behavior … . Finally, plaintiff’s pleadings, along with the depositions of the witnesses, established a potentially meritorious cause of action … . Navarro v Joy Constr. Corp., 2022 NY Slip Op 05602, First Dept 10-6-22
Practice Point: Here excusable law office failure explained plaintiff’s failure to appear at conferences or outline remaining discovery. The parties had already stipulated to restore the action to the calendar. Plaintiff’s motion to vacate the dismissal of the action should have been granted. The parties’ stipulation should have been enforced, not ignored, by the judge.