Ever wondered how to effectuate a transfer of venue following your successful motion to change venue in an e-filed case?  Well wonder no more, as the Hon. Robert D. Kalish provides the bench and bar with a useful roadmap of what to do in American Transit A/S/O Sherman Ave. Eight Inc. v. Flour City Bagels, LLC.  Although not a Commercial Division case, a worthy read to all practicing in New York County.

The case is a simple subrogation action arising out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2015.  Defendants moved, pursuant to CPLR 510(3), for a change of venue to Bronx County, which the Court granted.  The Order indicated that the case was “disposed”.  The directive in the Order was straightforward:

“the venue of this action is changed from this Court to Supreme Court, Bronx County, and upon service by movant of a copy of this order with notice of entry and payment of appropriate fees, if any, the Clerk of this Court is directed to transfer the papers on file in this action to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Bronx County.”

Service of the Order with Notice of Entry was done through e-filing.  Seven months later, counsel for the defendants (movant) advised the Court (New York Supreme) that the case had never been transferred to Bronx County, but in the interim, the companion cases in the Bronx had settled.  Accordingly, defendants requested that the Court “recall” its prior transfer order or advise whether the parties should proceed to effectuate the transfer to the Bronx.  Justice Kalish used this “opportunity to clarify, for the New York County litigants and motion courts alike, the procedure to be followed by the movant whose motion to change venue from New York County to another county is granted.”

First and foremost, “merely e-fling a copy of the order with ‘Notice of Entry’ upon the parties . . . is insufficient to effectuate transfer.”  The movant must e-file form EF-22, Notice to County Clerk, along with the Court’s transfer order.  Next, the notice must be e-filed to the case docket under the category, “Non-Motion Documents>Documents not related to motion/petition/OSC” with a “Document Type” of “Notice to County Clerk CPLR 8019(c).”  According to the Court, “[t]hen, and only then, will the transfer order properly be filed to the New York County Clerk, who will then be properly on notice . . . and will take the appropriate next steps in effectuating the transfer.”

Over the past year or so, we have made a point of highlighting in the “Check the Rules” series on this blog periodic updates to the individual practice rules of certain Commercial Division Justices, including Justice Eileen Bransten in New York County (twice, in fact), Justices Marguerite A. Grays and Leonard Livote in Queens County, and Justice Sylvia G. Ash in Kings County.

Continuing with this theme of local-rule vigilance, Commercial Division practitioners should take note some recent changes to the individual practice rules of Manhattan Commercial Division Justice O. Peter Sherwood.

Justice Sherwood’s Practices for Part 49, which were revised as of this month, provide some notable additions (and omissions) from his prior rules, which dated back to May 2014 before most of the Commercial Division Advisory Council’s new-rule proposals and amendments were adopted and implemented.

Be Prepared, Be Authorized. Justice Sherwood opens his practice rules with an express and emphatic reminder to attorneys practicing in his Part of the requirements under Rule 1 of the Commercial Division Rules that “counsel . . . must be fully familiar with the case . . . and fully authorized to enter into agreements, both substantive and procedural, on behalf of their clients.” In other words, appearing in Part 49 is no “cattle-call.” Attorneys should have factual command of their cases, as well as the requisite authority to bind their clients.

Separate and Describe Your Exhibits. Justice Sherwood now requires attorneys practicing in his Part who wish to annex exhibits to their correspondence or motion papers to separately e-file their exhibits and designate them with a “descriptive title.” In other words, a simple designation of “Exhibit A” won’t cut it. Attorneys must provide a description (e.g. “Operating Agreement, dated as of September 20, 2018”) so that adversaries and court personnel viewing the docket or other notice of filing can immediately understand what has been filed.

Get Advance Permission to Adjourn Appearances. Justice Sherwood now requires that requests for adjournment be submitted a full two business days in advance of the scheduled appearance. Justice Sherwood conferences his cases on Tuesdays, so that means attorneys must get their requests for adjournment in by no later than Thursday of the prior week.

Check Your E-Mail. Justice Sherwood’s new rules provide that the court may choose to communicate with counsel via e-mail “regarding scheduling matters or to make certain inquiries.” Note, however, that this line of communication only goes one way. It does not mean that attorneys practicing in Part 49 may “initiate communication with the court via email” or “use e-mail to make arguments.”

Complete Party Discovery Before Bothering Non-Parties. Justice Sherwood “strongly encourages” attorneys practicing in his Part to “attempt to confine their requests to parties to the action and resort to third-party disclosure only when it reasonably appears that the information being sought is otherwise unavailable.” Justice Sherwood also requires that all non-party subpoenas be “simultaneously served” on all parties, and that all documents and information produced in response be exchanged among all parties within five days of receipt.

Follow Instructions When Seeking to File Under Seal. Justice Sherwood’s updated practice rules provide specific instructions concerning the filing of documents under seal:

  • Applications to file under seal must be made by Order to Show Cause, which must be preceded by a meet-and-confer regarding the documents proposed for seal.
  • Motions will be considered in light of the limitations imposed under applicable case law, and the movant must propose redactions “as opposed to wholesale sealing.”
  • Any document proposed for seal must be filed in its original, un-redacted form as an exhibit, with the proposed redacted version filed “as a subset of that exhibit.”
  • All motions must be accompanied by a joint index of the documents proposed for seal, including the basis for sealing and any objection thereto.

Finally, as for notable omissions, Justice Sherwood appears to have dispensed with his former requirement – which, as far as I’m aware, was entirely unique to his Part – that  motion submissions also be provided to the court “in .rtf format on a computer disk.”

**Nota Bene** – Attention Kings County Commercial Division practitioners: How much is your case worth? The general practice rules for the Kings County Commercial Division also were updated this month to double the monetary threshold from $75,000 to $150,000.

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