Only certain documentary evidence can qualify for dismissal of an action.

The court in Bianco v Law Offices of Yuri Prakhin, 189 AD3d 1326 [2d Dept 2020] held that only certain documentary evidence can qualify for dismissal of an action under CPLR 3211(a)(1):

On a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211, the pleading is to be afforded a liberal construction (see CPLR 3026). The facts as alleged in the complaint are accepted as true, the plaintiff is afforded the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and the court determines only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory (see Leon v. Martinez, 84 N.Y.2d 83, 87–88, 614 N.Y.S.2d 972, 638 N.E.2d 511). Under CPLR 3211(a)(1), a dismissal is warranted only where the documentary evidence utterly refutes the plaintiff’s factual allegations, conclusively establishing a defense as a matter of law (see Goshen v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of N.Y., 98 N.Y.2d 314, 326, 746 N.Y.S.2d 858, 774 N.E.2d 1190; Leon v. Martinez, 84 N.Y.2d at 88, 614 N.Y.S.2d 972, 638 N.E.2d 511). In order for evidence to qualify as documentary, it must be unambiguous, authentic, and undeniable (see Granada Condominium III Assn. v. Palomino, 78 A.D.3d 996, 996–997, 913 N.Y.S.2d 668; Fontanetta v. John Doe 1, 73 A.D.3d 78, 86, 898 N.Y.S.2d 569). “[J]udicial records, as well as documents reflecting out-of-court transactions such as mortgages, deeds, contracts, and any other papers, the contents of which are essentially undeniable, would qualify as documentary evidence in the proper case” (Fontanetta v. John Doe 1, 73 A.D.3d at 84–85, 898 N.Y.S.2d 569 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see First Choice Plumbing Corp. v. Miller Law Offs., PLLC, 164 A.D.3d 756, 758, 84 N.Y.S.3d 171). Neither affidavits, deposition testimony, nor letters are considered documentary evidence within the intendment of CPLR 3211(a)(1) (see *579 Fox Paine & Co., LLC v. Houston Cas. Co., 153 A.D.3d 673, 678, 60 N.Y.S.3d 294; Granada Condominium III Assn. v. Palomino, 78 A.D.3d at 997, 913 N.Y.S.2d 668).

Scales of justice