In Calderone v National Collegiate Athletic Association, the plaintiff sued the NCAA and other parties for personal injuries allegedly sustained during a soccer game and the NCAA immediately moved to dismiss the complaint. On the return date of the NCAA’s motion, the plaintiff attempted to file a stipulation signed by the NCAA’s counsel, agreeing to adjourn the return date and extend the plaintiff’s time to submit opposition papers. But the court rejected the stipulation and marked the NCAA’s motion fully submitted without opposition. Plaintiff moved to extend his time to submit opposition papers to the NCAA’s motion — which was unopposed by the NCAA. But the court denied the plaintiff’s motion on the ground that he failed to follow the motion schedule set by the court’s rules.
On appeal, the Second Department reversed the lower court’s decision, citing to CPLR 2004 which provides, “[e]xcept where otherwise expressly prescribed by law, the court may extend the time fixed by any statute, rule or order for doing any act, upon such terms as may be just and upon good cause shown, whether the application for extension is made before or after the expiration of the time fixed.”
Here, the plaintiff established good cause for an extension of his time to submit opposition papers to the NCAA’s motion given the brief and unintentional delay, the lack of prejudice to the NCAA, the existence of potentially meritorious defenses to the NCAA’s motion, and “the policy favoring the resolution of cases on their merits.”
Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post and please write to Mike Bono with any questions.