The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined appellant’s request for an adjournment to find new counsel should have been granted. The appellant’s attorney had also represented other respondents and had drawn up a settlement agreement. The appellant declined to sign settlement and the court entered a judgment against the appellant for nearly $800,000:
The granting of an adjournment for any purpose rests within the sound discretion of the court … , and its determination will not be disturbed absent an improvident exercise of that discretion … . In deciding whether to grant an adjournment, the court must engage in a balanced consideration of numerous relevant factors, including the merit or lack of merit of the proceeding, prejudice or lack thereof to the petitioner, the number of adjournments granted, the lack of intent to deliberately default or abandon the action, and the length of the pendency of the proceeding … .
Under the circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court improvidently exercised its discretion in denying the appellant’s request for an adjournment to obtain new counsel … . There was no prejudice to the petitioner, no lack of diligence by the appellant, and no substantial delay in the proceeding … . Matter of People of State of N.Y. v Emstar Pizza, Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op 04950, Second Dept 9-16-20