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Be Careful What You Wish For (NY)

December 21, 2018

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In <a href="">Karras v Margaret Tietz Ctr. for Nursing Care, Inc.</a><em> </em>the Court assessed a motion to re-argue a prior decision to dismiss for lack of capacity. The initial suit listed “Marina Karras, as Proposed Administratrix of the Estate of Georgina Goyanes, deceased” as the plaintiff.  The Court also amended the initial caption to eliminate the word proposed.

Though Courts in New York are often liberal in their allowance to amend and cure defects.  However, in this case the Court determined that this initial error could not be cured, as the plaintiff did not have standing the bring the suit, even though it was demonstrated that Marina Karras did eventually gain Letters of Administration and became the administratrix of the estate of Georgina Goyanes.

This case serves as an important lesson for litigators who do not specialize in estate work when dealing with a deceased litigant.  Often the practice of law leads us to encounter close relatives of our clients, some of which we may work with often.  Notwithstanding how inevitable it may seem that a close family member becomes substituted for a client, litigants must allow that process to formalize before taking further action.  Similarly, when an adverse party deceases, do not necessarily trust the actions of adverse counsel, as they may have overlooked formalized proceedings and purport to represent someone who they have no fiduciary or legal relation to.

Thanks to Christopher Gioia for his contribution to this post. Please email <a href="">Vito A. Pinto</a> with any questions.

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