NATIONSCREDIT FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP v. TURCIOS

Reset A A Font size: Print

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

NATIONSCREDIT FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP., respondent, v. Luis A. TURCIOS, et al., appellants, et al., defendants.

Decided: June 26, 2007

ANITA R. FLORIO, J.P., STEVEN W. FISHER, EDWARD D. CARNI, and WILLIAM E. McCARTHY, JJ. Steven A. Sternlicht, East Islip, N.Y. and Jeffrey M. Novick, Woodbury, N.Y., for appellants (one brief filed). Alan Weinreb, PLLC, Farmingville, N.Y. (Stim & Warmuth, P.C. [Paula J. Warmuth] of counsel), for respondent.

In an action to foreclose a mortgage, the defendants Luis A. Turcios and Aurora Velasquez appeal from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Tanenbaum, J.), dated August 10, 2006, as granted the plaintiff's motion to disqualify Steven A. Sternlicht from representing them.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

 The disqualification of an attorney is a matter which rests within the sound discretion of the trial court (see Boyd v. Trent, 287 A.D.2d 475, 731 N.Y.S.2d 209).   Disqualification is warranted if the attorney's testimony is necessary (see S & S Hotel Ventures Ltd. Partnership v. 777 S.H. Corp., 69 N.Y.2d 437, 445-446, 515 N.Y.S.2d 735, 508 N.E.2d 647).   The burden of demonstrating necessity falls upon the challenging party (id. at 445, 515 N.Y.S.2d 735, 508 N.E.2d 647).   Under the circumstances presented, the plaintiff established that attorney Steven A. Sternlicht is an essential witness who ought to be called to testify at trial.   Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly granted the plaintiff's motion to disqualify him from representing the appellants (see Fernandes v. Jamron, 9 A.D.3d 379, 780 N.Y.S.2d 164;  Chadrjian v. Purcell, 293 A.D.2d 699, 741 N.Y.S.2d 419;  Korfmann v. Kemper Natl. Ins. Co., 258 A.D.2d 508, 685 N.Y.S.2d 282).

Copied to clipboard