The Legal Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

In an action, a Defendant can move to dismiss a Plaintiff’s Complaint based upon the allegation that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action, pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1), (5) and (7). In deciding such a motion, the court must accept the facts as alleged in the Complaint as true, according the plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory. Goldman v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 5 NY3d 561, 807 NYS2d 583 [2005]. The Complaint in this action makes factual allegations which, for the most part, have already been established by the Order. These facts amply support the causes of action alleged in the Complaint. Essentially, the court should impose a “four corners” test in liberally construing the four corners of the pleading to see whether they establish valid causes of action. Schwaner v. Collins, 17 AD3d 1068 [4 Dept. 2005]. As the Court of Appeals enunciated in Guggenheimer v. Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268 [1977], on a motion to dismiss made pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), “the sole criterion is whether the pleading states a cause of action, and if from its four corners factual allegations are discerned which taken together manifest any cause of action cognizable at law.” Further, “when evidentiary material is considered, the criterion is whether the proponent of the pleading has a cause of action, not whether he has stated one, and unless it has been shown that a material fact as claimed by the pleader to be one is not a fact at all and unless it can be said that no significant dispute exists regarding it, again dismissal should not eventuate.” Guggenheimer, supra at 275.
by Richard A. Klass, Esq.
———– copyr. 2012 Richard A. Klass, Esq. The firm’s website: Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation at 16 Court Street, 28th Floor, Brooklyn Heights, New York. He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to with any questions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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