Expeditious Summary Judgment for Certain Cases, CPLR 3213

If a litigant is seeking judicial relief in connection to “an instrument for the payment of money only” or “upon any judgment,” the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) in the State of New York offers a swift procedural method, commonly used by major financial entities like banks, for disposing of such cases. Monetary instruments and the like are ripe for quick disposition as these matters often involve written expressions of agreement that are difficult to contest.

The complaining party is given an opportunity to institute a dispositive motion at the outset of the case. This particular motion is dispositive as it can lead directly to disposition. Under CPLR § 3213, the usual course of starting a suit turns into an amalgamation of commencement procedure and motion practice. This procedural tool aspires to speed up the process. It can cut a few days, or perhaps even weeks, off of the time it takes for the judiciary to bring resolution to other forms of civil actions.

When an action is based upon an instrument for the payment of money only or upon any judgment, the plaintiff may serve with the summons a notice of motion for summary judgment and the supporting papers in lieu of a complaint. The summons served with such motion papers shall require the defendant to submit answering papers on the motion within the time provided in the notice of motion. The minimum time such motion shall be noticed to be heard shall be as provided by subdivision (a) of rule 320 for making an appearance, depending upon the method of service. If the plaintiff sets the hearing date of the motion later than the minimum time therefor, he may require the defendant to serve a copy of his answering papers upon him within such extended period of time, not exceeding ten days, prior to such hearing date. No default judgment may be entered pursuant to subdivision (a) of section 3215 prior to the hearing date of the motion. If the motion is denied, the moving and answering papers shall be deemed the complaint and answer, respectively, unless the court orders otherwise. CPLR § 3213.

It is important to be aware of the minimum notice requirements for CPLR § 3213, as timing and service of process can become quite complex. Providing the non-movant with insufficient time to respond can lead to a dismissal of the matter.

For guidance on service of process and return time, you may consult Malament v Jong Kim, 22 Misc 3d 1110(A).

CPLR 3213 gives the plaintiff an option to either make the motion returnable as soon as possible and permit the defendant to file its opposition papers on the return date or demand opposition papers in advance and give the defendant additional time in which to oppose the motion. Id. at 1028. Plaintiff cannot give defendant the minimum amount of time permitted to oppose the motion and demand opposition in advance. Because Malament demanded service of answering papers by September 26, 2008, Defendants were not provided with the statutorily required time in which to respond. Malament v Jong Kim, 22 Misc 3d 1110(A).

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