Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A party seeking to set aside a stipulation in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding must demonstrate “good cause” such as fraud, overreaching, duress, or mistake


A party seeking to set aside a stipulation in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding must demonstrate “good cause” such as fraud, overreaching, duress, or mistake
Sheng v State of N.Y. Div. of Human Rights, 2012 NY Slip Op 02310, Appellate Division, Second Department

The New York State Division of Human Rights dismissed Juan Y. Sheng’s  administrative complaint alleging unlawful discrimination after deterimining that there was “no probable cause.” Subsequenlty Sheng asked  Supreme Court to vacate a stipulation discontinuing the proceeding before the Division with prejudice. Supreme Court denied Sheng’s petition.

The Appellate Division dismissed Sheng’s appeal, explaining that stipulations disposing of proceedings and actions "are favored by the courts and are not to be lightly set aside, especially where, as here, the party seeking to vacate the stipulation was represented by counsel." Further, said the court, A party seeking to set aside such a stipulation will be granted relief only upon a showing of good cause sufficient to invalidate a contract, such as fraud, overreaching, duress, or mistake,” citing McCoy v Feinman, 99 NY2d 295.

Concluding that Supreme Court properly determined that Sheng failed to demonstrate good cause to set aside the stipulation discontinuing the proceeding with prejudice, the Appellate Division commented that “The failure of [Sheng’s]  attorney to ascertain or understand the legal effect of a discontinuance with prejudice was not a basis upon which to vacate the sitpulation.”

Further, the court said that Sheng submitted no evidence in support of her claim of fraudulent inducement based on opposing counsel's failure to inform her counsel of the legal ramifications of a discontinuance with prejudice. In the words of the Appellate Division, “opposing counsel owed no duty to disclose her understanding of those legal ramifications” to Sheng or Sheng’s attorney.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_02310.htm

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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