Friday, November 2, 2007
A former employee sued Liz Clairborne Inc. alleging discrimination based on his sexual orientation. Defendant's counsel erroneously believed that a motion for summary judgment was due within 120 days. In fact, there was a 60-day limit for such motions. Notwithstanding the tardy filing, the motion was granted.
On appeal, the order granting summary judgment was reversed by the New Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department. Counsel's error did not excuse the failure to file in a timely manner and did not constitute good cause. A dissent accuses the majority of "officious intermeddling" with the ability of the trial court to conduct its business. Further, the dissent notes that the trial court's order directing compliance with the "local rule" was vague. (Mike Frisch)