Lopez v. Muttana

Decision Date16 November 2016
Citation41 N.Y.S.3d 113,2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 07628,144 A.D.3d 871
Parties Ricardo LOPEZ, appellant, v. Ramakrishna Reddi MUTTANA, etc., respondent, et al., defendant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Vincent S. Wong, New York, N.Y., for appellant.

Amabile & Erman, P.C., Staten Island, N.Y. (Marc J. Falcone of counsel), for respondent.

JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, J.P., JEFFREY A. COHEN, ROBERT J. MILLER, and HECTOR D. LaSALLE, JJ.

In an action to recover damages for medical malpractice, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Richmond County (Green, J.), dated April 22, 2015, which, inter alia, denied his motion, in effect, to set aside a stipulation of settlement and restore the action to the trial calendar.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.

After commencing this action to recover damages for medical malpractice, and shortly before the matter was to be tried, the plaintiff, by his former counsel, entered into a stipulation of settlement disposing of the case in exchange for a monetary payment. More than 18 months later, the plaintiff moved, in effect, to set aside the stipulation and restore the action to the trial calendar, claiming that the actions of the trial court and his former counsel had forced him to enter into the stipulation under duress. The Supreme Court denied the motion, and we affirm.

Stipulations of settlement, particularly those entered into in open court pursuant to CPLR 2104, are favored by the courts and will not be cast aside lightly (see Hallock v. State of New York, 64 N.Y.2d 224, 230, 485 N.Y.S.2d 510, 474 N.E.2d 1178 ; Stein v. Stein, 130 A.D.3d 604, 605, 12 N.Y.S.3d 284 ). In order to be relieved of the consequences of a stipulation, a party must establish grounds to invalidate a contract, such as duress, fraud, mistake, or accident (see Hallock v. State of New York, 64 N.Y.2d at 230, 485 N.Y.S.2d 510, 474 N.E.2d 1178 ; Matter of Melanie K. [Dolores F.], 133 A.D.3d 756, 757, 20 N.Y.S.3d 149 ). “Repudiation of an agreement on the ground that it was procured under duress requires the showing of a wrongful threat and the preclusion of the exercise of free will” (Wujin Nanxiashu Secant Factory v. Ti–Well Intl. Corp., 14 A.D.3d 352, 352, 788 N.Y.S.2d 78 ; see Desantis v. Ariens Co., 17 A.D.3d 311, 792 N.Y.S.2d 599 ). Moreover, an agreement which is the product of duress must be promptly repudiated (see Livathinos v. Vaughan, 121 A.D.3d 485, 994 N.Y.S.2d 109 ; Morad v. Morad, 27 A.D.3d 626, 812 N.Y.S.2d 126 ; 110 Sand Co. v. Nassau Land Improvement Co., 7 A.D.3d 497, 775 N.Y.S.2d 578 ).

Here, the plaintiff failed to allege any unlawful or wrongful threat by his former counsel or by the trial court that could serve as the basis for a claim of duress (see Philips S. Beach, LLC v. ZC Specialty Ins. Co.,

55 A.D.3d 493, 867 N.Y.S.2d 386 ; Board of Mgrs. of Atrium Condominium v. West 79th St. Corp., 19 A.D.3d 241, 798 N.Y.S.2d 8 ; Desantis v. Ariens Co., 17 A.D.3d 311, 792 N.Y.S.2d 599 ; Wujin Nanxiashu Secant Factory v. Ti–Well Intl. Corp., 14 A.D.3d 352, 788 N.Y.S.2d 78 ; Fred Ehrlich, P.C. v. Tullo, 274 A.D.2d 303, 710 N.Y.S.2d 572 ). In any event, even if the plaintiff had adequately alleged duress, his substantial and inexcusable delay in seeking to repudiate the stipulation of settlement warranted the denial of his motion (see e.g. Kaminsky v. Herrick, Feinstein LLP, 59 A.D.3d 1, 870 N.Y.S.2d 1 ; Board of Mgrs. of Atrium Condominium v. West 79th St. Corp., 19 A.D.3d 241, 798...

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14 cases
  • C. v. R.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court
    • September 17, 2019
    ...the terms of the stipulation were unconscionable, in order to be relieved from the consequences of the stipulation (see Lopez v. Muttana, 144 AD3d at 871, 41 N.Y.S.3d 113 ; Matter of Melanie K. [Dolores F.], 133 AD3d 756, 757, 20 N.Y.S.3d 149 ; Yan Ping Liang v. Wei Xuan Gao, 118 AD3d at 69......
  • Pieter v. Polin
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • March 29, 2017
    ...not lightly cast aside" (Hallock v. State of New York, 64 N.Y.2d 224, 230, 485 N.Y.S.2d 510, 474 N.E.2d 1178 ; see Lopez v. Muttana, 144 A.D.3d 871, 871, 41 N.Y.S.3d 113 ; Yan Ping Liang v. Wei Xuan Gao, 118 A.D.3d 696, 697, 986 N.Y.S.2d 857 ; Forcelli v. Gelco Corp., 109 A.D.3d 244, 247–24......
  • Carew v. Baker
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • September 18, 2019
    ...serve as the basis of a claim of duress, which was the only ground the plaintiff alleged to void the release (see Lopez v. Muttana, 144 A.D.3d 871, 871–872, 41 N.Y.S.3d 113 ). Accordingly, the release executed by the plaintiff should be enforced according to its terms. Under these circumsta......
  • Davis v. City of N.Y.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • February 15, 2017
    ...603, 744 N.E.2d 138 ).The plaintiffs' remaining contention is improperly raised for the first time on appeal (see Lopez v. Muttana, 144 A.D.3d 871, 41 N.Y.S.3d 113 ; Flagstar Bank, FSB v. Titus, 120 A.D.3d 469, 991 N.Y.S.2d 110 ; Infra–Metals Co. v. DK Indus. Servs. Corp., 120 A.D.3d 762, 9......
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