Freehill partner John Karpousis and associate Yaakov Adler have prevailed in the New York Appellate Division, Third Department, defeating a personal injury plaintiff’s motion for entry of a judgment which would include $910,000 in interest, cost and disbursements, which he alleged were recoverable under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. In the case of Ronkese v. Tilcon N.Y. Inc., the plaintiff’s personal injury case was settled some time ago for $3.25M, which amount was promptly paid to the plaintiff. As part of the settlement agreement, the defendant also agreed to satisfy an outstanding worker’s compensation lien in the amount of $264,360 against the plaintiff’s recovery.
The plaintiff claimed the lien was never settled and sought a judgment including $910,000 in interest, cost and disbursements. The claim was based on CPLR 5003(a), which provides that if “all sums due” to a plaintiff are not paid within 21 days of the plaintiff’s tender of a release for the agreed settlement, then a judgment can be entered for the full amount of the release, plus interest, costs and disbursements. In opposing the motion for a judgment, we argued that monies to be paid to a third party lienholder were not “sums due” to the plaintiff and, therefore, were not subject to the CPLR provision. The Appellate Division agreed, and denied the motion for a judgment including $910,000 in interest, costs, and disbursements. (Click here for a the full decision.)