Articles Posted in Queens

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The petitioner and respondent are the parents of a nine (9) year old child. The parties obtained a judgment of divorce in New Jersey on June 13, 2003 and, on consent, were awarded an order of joint legal custody for the child.

The father filed a violation petition and a petition for modification of the custody order on April 25, 2007. The father was seeking a specific and expanded visitation schedule. By stipulation the parties resolved the visitation issues between them prior to trial.

The mother had filed a petition to modify the custody order to provide for sole legal custody of the child on May 6, 2008. A trial was conducted in Kings County Family Court for the sole purpose of determining whether the existing order of joint legal custody should be modified to award sole legal custody to the mother.

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In a neglect proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act. Article 10, the maternal grandmother appeals from an order of the Family Court, Kings County, dated April 7, 2009, which suspended her visitation with the subject child and directed the Administration for Children’s Services to instruct the subject child’s school not to provide any information to her or allow her access to the subject child. Assigned counsel has submitted a brief in accordance with one case decided by the court, in which he moves to be relieved of his assignment to prosecute this appeal.

In child protective proceedings, the Commissioner has the burden of establishing abuse and neglect by a preponderance of the evidence. The statute provides that “proof of injuries sustained by a child or of the condition of a child of such a nature as would ordinarily not be sustained or exist except by reason of the acts or omissions of the parent or other person responsible for the care of such child shall be prima facie evidence of child abuse or neglect”. Upon proof to establish a prima facie case, the respondent must offer a satisfactory explanation to rebut the evidence of neglect. In rendering its decision, the court must set forth the specific grounds for its finding that the child had been abused or neglected.

The appeal from so much of the order as suspended visitation between the maternal grandmother and the subject child must be dismissed as academic because that portion of the order has been superseded by a permanency hearing order dated June 11, 2009, awarding the maternal grandmother visitation with the subject child in accordance with the permanency plan.

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In this contested probate proceeding, the proponent, MP, moves for an order granting summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212, dismissing the objections filed by the objectant, RP, and admitting the propounded instrument to probate. RP opposes the motion on the ground that material issues of fact exist.

RP cross-moves for an order: (1) pursuant to SCPA 205, dismissing the probate proceeding on the ground that the decedent was not a domiciliary of Nassau County at the time of his death; (2) pursuant to Article 45 of the CPLR, prohibiting MP from introducing into evidence certain DVDs that MP alleges to be recordings of the decedent; and (3) pursuant to CPLR 4519, prohibiting MP and EP, who is the decedent’s ex-wife and the mother of MP and RP, from testifying at trial as to any statements allegedly made by the decedent. MP opposes the relief requested by RP.

The decedent, SP, died on June 27, 2005, survived by his wife, BP, and two sons from a former marriage, RP and MP.

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In this accounting of the Public Administrator, the issue of kinship was referred to a court attorney/referee pursuant to SCPA 506. A hearing was conducted and various documents were admitted into evidence, including the purported family tree. All parties stipulated to waive the report of the referee and to allow the kinship issues to be decided by the court based upon the transcript of the hearing, the documentary evidence and the arguments made by the claimants and the guardian ad litem representing the interests of unknown distributees.

JP died on March 1, 2005, a resident and domiciliary of Nassau County. Letters of administration issued to the Public Administrator on July 1, 2005. The summary statement shows charges to the accounting party of $127,103.26.

Parties claiming to be the distributees of JP have appeared, and they are three alleged paternal first cousins, FPG, MP and SP and two alleged maternal first cousins, MS and AT.

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This extension of placement proceeding under Section 1055 of the Family Court Act raises questions as to the perimeters of the Family Court’s jurisdiction.

MR was born on June 19, 1982. Less than two months later, she was remanded to the Commissioner of Social Services who has had responsibility for her since that time. On November 22, 1982, after a finding of neglect, MR was placed with the Commissioner for 18 months. On December 8, 1982, the Commissioner placed the child with St. Christopher’s Home for Children, an authorized agency, which in turn placed her with F Parents, where she continues to reside.

On March 1, 1984, the Commissioner filed a petition to extend placement for one year pursuant to Section 1055 of the Family Court Act. The Commissioner’s long term plan, with the agreement of St. Christopher’s, was for eventual discharge of the child to her mother. On May 1, MR’s mother appeared in the Intake Part, was assigned counsel and indicated her intent to oppose the extension. On May 15, she requested a long adjournment, because, as her lawyer indicated, the mother is progressing very nicely. We would just like her to continue for a longer period of time.

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On June 20, 2011, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition against respondent mother alleging that she derivatively severely abused the subject child by committing reckless or intentional acts that evinced a depraved indifference to human life and caused serious physical injury to the subject child’s five-year-old sibling Jamar resulting in his death.

The subject child under the age of eighteen whose parent subjected the child to reckless or intentional acts committed under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, which resulted in serious physical injury to the child as defined in subdivision ten of section 10.00 of the penal law:

The fact-finding hearing commenced on November 29, 2011 and continued on December 2, 2011, December 9, 2011, December 13, 2011, March 15, 2012, March 20, 2012, March 21, 2012, April 13, 2012, and July 9, 2012.

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The petitioner/landlord, commenced this holdover proceeding to recover possession of the Section 8 leasehold premises from respondent/tenant, seeking to terminate the month-to-month tenancy. Tenant moves to dismiss the petition in lieu of answering upon grounds that the notice to terminate and petition are legally insufficient and that petitioner’s acceptance of rent after the notice to terminate was sent nullified the effect of the notice. Landlord opposes the motion to dismiss and maintains that it is untimely pursuant to Justice Court Act §1002.

The parties entered into a lease under the Section 8 Tenant Based Assistance Housing Choice Voucher Program, which was executed in October of 2003. Under paragraph 6 of Part A of the lease, the initial term ended on October 31, 2004, at which time the lease automatically renewed on a month-to-month basis. The lease provides that all notices made by owner or tenant must be in writing and makes no reference to landlord’s attorney or agent.

The litigants are known to this Court for more than a year as parties to several holdover and non-payment summary proceedings. In each prior proceeding, landlord’s counsel represented the petitioner landlord, and the respondent appeared pro se. Each prior proceeding was resolved and the tenancy continued.

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In July, 1977, defendant Department of Social Services of the County of Nassau (hereinafter DSS) placed a four-year-old child and his sister in the foster home of defendant Margaret Toomer after the infant’s natural mother was sentenced to prison. Subsequent to placement, the DSS received several reports that the infant was being “beaten” and otherwise “abused” by the foster mother. DSS employees allegedly investigated the complaints and determined that the child should remain in guardian’s care pending completion of their investigation.

On or about November 17, 1978, the decedent’s grandfather and administrator of his estate, commenced the present action against the County of Nassau, the DSS and the guardian. The cause of action against the county defendants asserted, in effect, that they were negligent in placing the infant in guardian’s care, investigating the complaints of abuse against her, and failing to remove the infant from her care. Initially, the county defendants denied these allegations, and then, on April 30, 1984, some five years after the service of the answer, moved for leave to amend their answer to interpose the affirmative defense of immunity and for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as it was asserted against them.

In a short form order, Special Term denied the county defendants’ motion on the ground that “no purpose would be served by allowing defendant[s] to amend their answer” since the acts here complained of “require[d] no discretion” and the “County is not immune from liability”. While we agree with Special Term’s determination, we believe additional explanation is necessary.

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This action to vacate a deed or, in the alternative, impress a constructive trust, was originally commenced by the executor in Supreme Court, Nassau County, and was transferred to this court by order of Hon. Thomas P. Phelan dated October 21, 2005. RM, executor of the estate of MM, now moves for summary judgment. The respondent, CS, has cross-moved for summary judgment for a declaration that the transfer was a valid gift.

MM died on July 12, 2004 leaving a will dated May 29, 1987 which was admitted to probate by decree dated March 14, 2005. Letters testamentary issued to RM, the petitioner herein. In addition to RM and Catherine, MM was survived by three other children, Thomas, James and William.

Prior to entering an assisted living facility, the decedent resided at 18 Marden Avenue, Sea Cliff, New York (hereinafter “the premises”). Pursuant to the subject October 28, 1998 deed, MM purportedly transferred her interest in the premises to CS and reserved a life estate. In addition, the deed provided as follows:

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In two matrimonial actions, the husband appeals from (1) an order of the Supreme Court, Westchester County, entered January 31, 1989, in Action No. 1, which directed a joint trial of the actions in Westchester County and granted the wife leave to enter a money judgment in the sum of $21,150, representing arrears in maintenance, and (2) an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, dated February 10, 1989, which, based upon the order of the Supreme Court, Westchester County, entered January 31, 1989, referred Action No. 2 to the Supreme Court, Westchester County.

The wife instituted Action No. 1 in the Supreme Court, Westchester County, in 1986, seeking a judgment declaring null and void a Connecticut divorce judgment obtained by the husband in 1985, and ancillary relief. By order entered May 6, 1986, the Connecticut divorce judgment was held a nullity due to lack of jurisdiction. By order dated June 27, 1986, the husband’s counterclaim for divorce in Action No. 1 was dismissed and he was directed to pay the wife permanent maintenance in the amount of $225 per week. It was uncontradicted that the husband unilaterally ceased payment of that maintenance in February 1987.

The husband commenced Action No. 2 for a divorce and ancillary relief in the Supreme Court, Nassau County, by service of summons and complaint dated October 13, 1988. By order to show cause dated October 14, 1988, the husband then moved in the Supreme Court, Nassau County, to stay enforcement of the order of the Supreme Court, Westchester County, dated June 27, 1986. That motion was denied. The wife then moved in the Supreme Court, Westchester County, inter alia, for leave to enter a money judgment for the arrears in maintenance, for an upward modification of maintenance, and for a joint trial of her motion for economic relief in Action No. 1 with Action No. 2. The husband then simultaneously (1) cross-moved, in the Supreme Court, Westchester County, inter alia, to designate the Supreme Court, Nassau County, as the venue for the joint trial, and (2) moved in the Supreme Court, Nassau County, for that same relief. He failed to advise the Supreme Court, Nassau County, that an application for identical relief was pending in Westchester County.

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