Employment Discrimination Defendant’s Time to Answer Extended

In Breland v. City of New York, No. 152046/2020, 2020 WL 5644943, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 33099(U), 3–4 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Sep. 22, 2020), an employment discrimination case, the court granted defendants’ motion to extend their time to answer, move, or otherwise respond to plaintiff’s complaint.

The court explained:

Pursuant to CPLR 2004, a court may extend the time for doing any act upon good cause shown. Additionally, pursuant to CPLR 3012(d), this Court may, in its discretion, extend a defendant’s time to answer a complaint upon a showing of a reasonable excuse for its delay.

NYCHA’s investigation into whether it must defend its employees Medina and Cunningham is a reasonable excuse for defendants’ delay in answering (see Harris v City of New York, 30 AD3d 461 [2d Dept 2006]; Silverio v City of New York, 266 A.D.2d 129 [1st Dept 1999]), and defendants are not required to submit an affidavit of merit where, as here, no default order or judgment has been entered. See Arrington v Bronx Jean Co., Inc., 76 AD3d 461 (1st Dept 2010); Lamar v City of New York, 68 AD3d 449 (1st Dept 2009).

Even assuming, arguendo, that defendants’ excuse for its delay is not reasonable, plaintiff has failed to establish, or even assert, that it would be prejudiced by the service of a late answer; the delay in answering was not lengthy, especially given that service of process was effectuated just as the pandemic began; and the policy of resolving disputes on their merits militates in favor of granting of the application.

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