Defendants Failed to Provide a Reasonable Excuse to Vacate their Default

CPLR 5015(a)(1) provides:

(a) On motion. The court which rendered a judgment or order may relieve a party from it upon such terms as may be just, on motion of any interested person with such notice as the court may direct, upon the ground of: 1. excusable default, if such motion is made within one year after service of a copy of the judgment or order with written notice of its entry upon the moving party, or, if the moving party has entered the judgment or order, within one year after such entry;

Defendants have failed to meet their burden to establish that service upon them of the Summons and Complaint was not proper. In New York, a process server’s affidavit constitutes prima facie evidence of proper service. See Kaywood v. Cigpak, Inc., 258 A.D.2d 623, 685 N.Y.S.2d 770 (2d Dep’t 1999); Wieck v. Halpern, 255 A.D.2d 438, 680 N.Y.S.2d 599 (2d Dep’t 1998); Simmons First Natl. Bank v. Mandracchia, 248 A.D.2d 375, 699 N.Y.S.2d (2d Dep’t 1998); Remington Invs. v. Seiden, 240 A.D.2d 647, 658 N.Y.S. 696 (2d Dep’t 1997).

To rebut the presumption of service, the Defendant is required to provide an affidavit wherein he swears to specific facts to rebut the statements in the process server’s affidavit. See Simmonds v. Grobman, 277 A.D.2d 369, 716 N.Y.S.2d 692 (2d Dep’t 2000); Genway Corp. v. Elgut, 177 A.D.2d 467, 575 N.Y.S.2d 889 (2d Dep’t 1991); Walkes v. Benoit, 257 A.D.2d 508, 684 N.Y.S.2d 533 (1st Dep’t 1999); European Am. Bank v. Abramoff, 201 A.D.2d 611, 608 N.Y.S.2d 233 (2d Dep’t 1994).

A bald denial of receipt of service of process is insufficient to rebut the inference of proper service. See Terlizzese v. Robinson’s Custom Service, Inc., 25 A.D.3d 547, 806 N.Y.S.2d 418 [2d Dept 2006]. European Am. Bank v. Abramoff, supra; Public Adm’r of County of N.Y. v. Markowitz, 163 A.D.2d 100, 557 N.Y.S.2d 348 [1st Dep’t 1990]; Colon v. Beekman Downtown Hosp., 111 A.D.2d 841, 490 N.Y.S.2d 581 [2d Dep’t 1985]; De Forte v. Doctors Hosp., 66 A.D.2d 792, 410 N.Y.S.2d 903 [2d Dep’t 1978].

See this link at New York Courts .gov for more information about Vacating a Default Judgment in New York State, including a section titled Reasons the Court Can Vacate a Default Judgment.


R. A. Klass
Your Court Street Lawyer

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