Silber's decision does not include the name of the firm, but the Law Journal determined it from other records.
The judge noted in Doe v. Ratingz, 20786/2012, that the firm's papers were first rejected by the clerk for technical reasons. Sandy hit before revised papers, updated to comply with the clerk's comments, could be filed.
"Petitioners' counsel now seeks the Court's indulgence, and requests us to accept and sign the now crispy, water-damaged papers submitted," Silber said. "Recognizing that counsel's office sustained significant hardship from the storm, the court has made every effort to do so."
The flooded first-floor offices of Bukh & Associates.
She added, "However, the court notes that the papers are difficult to read, and some passages are impossible to read. Further, both petitioner's…affidavit and counsel's affirmation are missing at least one page each, and it is possible that Exhibit A is also incomplete."
Silber observed that pre-action discovery is allowed only where the party seeking disclosure "has demonstrated both a meritorious cause of action and the materiality and necessity of the information sought."
"In the instant matter, the issue is that the papers submitted herein may or may not meet" the requirements, she wrote, "but they are not complete. On the papers submitted, a substantive conclusion cannot be reached.
"The affirmation, affidavit and petition as submitted are not specific enough," she wrote. Even if the papers were complete and made a case for defamation, she said, it would still be improper for her to sign the attorney's order to show cause as submitted.
"While the court is sympathetic to the plight of petitioners' counsel as a result of the storm, the papers as submitted are very faded," and will not be legible in the clerk's minutes when scanned, copied and served on the respondent, she said.
"The missing pages further compound this problem," she added.