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Zalman Schnurman & Miner Secures Sanctions Against the City of New York

picture of brown gavel resting on a white table

In a recent victory for justice, Zalman Schnurman & Miner succeeded in obtaining sanctions against the City of New York. This case is an example of the hard work of our legal team, and underscores the importance of adhering to court-ordered deadlines.

Introduction: After the initiation of a lawsuit and prior to trial, the process of discovery takes center stage. Discovery involves the acquisition of pertinent documents and depositions from the defendant. This critical phase entails demands from both parties and the establishment of a discovery schedule by the court.

The Significance of Court-Ordered Deadlines: The judicial system places considerable emphasis on the adherence to court-ordered deadlines. When a party’s conduct displays a “willful and contumacious” refusal to abide by these orders, sanctions may come into play.

Defining Willful and Contumacious Behavior: A party’s willful and contumacious conduct can manifest through two avenues:

  1. Repeated Failure to Respond: If a party persistently neglects to respond to discovery demands or comply with court-ordered discovery without a justifiable reason, their behavior may be deemed “willful and contumacious.”
  2. Long-Term Non-Compliance: Similarly, an extended history of failing to adhere to court-ordered discovery can also indicate such behavior.

Case Highlight: Meyer v. City of New York: An illustrative example is the case of Meyer v. City of New York, et al. In this instance, the plaintiff suffered a fall due to an elevated section of sidewalk. During the discovery process, our legal team repeatedly sought records from the City of New York regarding the condition of the sidewalk, prior complaints, inspections, and repairs. Despite our concerted efforts, the City failed to turn over the necessary discovery.

The Motion and Subsequent Sanction: In response, we initiated a motion to sanction the City of New York. Our efforts bore fruit as the Honorable Rachel Freier ruled in favor of our motion, imposing sanctions on the City. The Court’s decision, striking the City’s Answer to our Complaint, was rooted in its finding that the City’s behavior met the criteria of being “willful and contumacious.” This assessment stemmed from the City’s defiance of not one, but three court orders.

Implications and Outcome: The ramifications of this ruling were profound. With the City of New York unable to dispute the allegations laid out in our Complaint, the focus shifted exclusively to determining the appropriate compensation for the plaintiff. This pivotal shift expedited the negotiation process, leading to a swift and advantageous settlement with the City.

Conclusion: The Zalman Schnurman & Miner legal team’s win is an example of how we aggressively pursue the rights of our clients in every case.