State of New York v. 158th St. & Riverside Dr. Housing Co.
Justice Robert Rose
Defendants appealed from an order which denied A.M.G. Properties', among others, motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them and setting aside a verdict rendered in plaintiff's favor. Plaintiff began a suit under Navigation Law article 12 in 1999 seeking to recover costs associated with the remediation of two oils spills in New York City. The first was in a space owned by 158th St. & Riverside Dr. Housing, the second in an area owned by A.M.G. The jury returned a verdict after trial in plaintiff's favor. Defendants appeal claiming plaintiff failed to preserve background documents that were previously disclosed, but that defendants did not seek field notes and other documentation until 2010. They also claimed an adverse inference charge was warranted. The court disagreed noting such charge was unwarranted absent a showing there was no reasonable explanation for failing to produce the subject document. Also, it noted there was no abuse of discretion in denying defendants' motion as they failed to show they were prejudiced by being unable to defend the case. The court also rejected defendants' arguments that admitting reports issued by plaintiff's contractors was in error, finding them properly admitted as business records, dismissing the appeal.