The Court of Appeals September Session Leave Grants

The Court of Appeals’ September Session came to a close last week, with the Court issuing four new leave grants, two from the Fourth Department and one each from the First and Third Departments.  Here’s a quick look at those new cases:

Ferrara v Peaches Cafe LLC, 138 AD3d 1391 (4th Dept 2016)

Question presented: Whether a lien under Lien Law § 3 is valid only when the property owner directly authorizes the contractor to undertake the relevant improvements.

Appellate Division holding: Contrary to prior holdings of the other Appellate Division departments, the Fourth Department held that a lien may be enforced against the owner of a property even when the owner does not directly authorize the contractor to undertake the work, if the work is otherwise authorized under a lease of the premises between the owner and the tenant.

Matter of Pena v New York State Gaming Commission, 144 AD3d 1244 (3d Dept 2016)

Question presented: Whether veterinary billing records that were not certified by the vet constituted substantial evidence in the record that horses in the care of a trainer of harness racing horses were administered drugs within the prohibited time frames before races and that the trainer’s license was properly revoked.

Appellate Division holding: The Third Department held that the records were of questionable evidentiary weight because they did not explain on what date the drugs were administered, and the custodian of the records could only speculate based upon industry custom.  Thus, the Court held that the records did not constitute substantial evidence that the horses were administered drugs within prohibited the time frames before races, and the trainer’s license should not have been revoked.

Town of Aurora v Village of East Aurora, 149 AD3d 1506 (4th Dept 2017)

Question presented: Whether it was necessary for a village to pass a resolution pursuant to Village Law § 6-606 in order to assume control, care, and maintenance of a bridge, and thus which municipality is responsible for the costs of repair and maintenance of a bridge that the New York State Department of Transportation has identified as in need of repair.

Appellate Division holding: Under Village Law § 6-604, the Village of East Aurora, which planned, financed, and built the bridge, was exclusively responsible for its maintenance and repair because a resolution under section 6-606 was not required in order for the Village to assume control and responsibility for the bridge.

Capital One Taxi Medallion Finance v Corrigan, 147 AD3d 677 (1st Dept 2017)

Question presented: Whether counterclaims for breach of contract and negligent interference with collateral are defenses to the obligations under a loan agreement, such that the Appellate Division should not have granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint.

Appellate Division holding: The counterclaims were not a defense to the underlying liability on the loan agreement, and thus the plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in lieu of complaint.  Even if successful, the defendant’s counterclaims would merely mitigate its damages, but would not raise a question concerning whether it had an obligation to repay the loan.

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