Westchester Commercial Division Justice Linda Jamieson recently granted leave to plaintiffs to amend their complaint seven years after they filed their original complaint.
In MCC Realty III v. Retail Opportunity Investments Corp., Index No. 56448/11, Plaintiffs sought leave to drop three causes of action and add five new ones. The reason: to reflect information discovered after Plaintiffs filed the complaint, including information discovered within a few weeks of the filing of the motion. Defendants argued that they would be “severely prejudiced” by being forced to re-review more than 100,000 documents that already had been produced. Defendants also argued that Plaintiffs’ delay was unreasonable because they long had all the information needed to amend.
Despite the seven-year gap, Justice Jamieson rejected Defendants’ claim of prejudice because the proposed amendment arose out of the same facts in the original complaint. Further, Defendants’ “unsubstantiated” claim of prejudice by having to answer and defend the new claims was not enough to defeat the motion. Instead, Justice Jamieson held, a party must show that it was “hindered in the preparation of his case or has been prevented from taking some measure in support of his position” (quoting RCLA, LLC. v. 50-09 Realty, LLC, 48 A.D.3d 538 (2d Dep’t 2008)).
Justice Jamieson also suggested that the delay was not prejudicial because it was not the product of lack of diligence on the part of Plaintiffs. Since the case was filed, there were 23 motions, 43 court appearances, and dozens of conference calls with and numerous letters to the Court. “None of the parties in this case was ignoring it.”
To learn more about new developments in the Westchester Commercial Division, please subscribe to the Westchester Commercial Division Blog.