Petition for Declaratory Relief in New York

What Is a Petition for Declaratory Relief?

Background

A petition for a declaratory judgment seeks to have the court establish and promulgate the rights of the parties on a particular subject matter. (Goodman v. Reisch, 220 A.D.2d 383 [1995].) A declaratory judgment is remedial in nature, with the primary purpose to stabilize the legal relations that exist between the parties and to eliminate uncertainty as to the scope and content of both present and prospective legal obligations. (Id.)

How to Structure the Motion

Section 3001 of Civil Practice Law and Rules authorizes “courts to declare ‘the rights and other legal relations of the parties to a justiciable controversy,’ providing a procedure for parties to resolve disputes over existing rights and obligations.” (Lang v. Hanover Ins. Co., 3 N.Y.3d 350, 355 [2004].)

A justiciable controversy is “defined as a ‘real dispute… involving substantial legal interests for which a declaration of right will have some practical effect.” (Palm v. Tuckahoe Union Free Sch. Dist., 95 A.D.3d 1087, 1089 [2nd Dept. 2012].) Declaratory judgments resolve disputes where a “plaintiff is ‘unable to find among the traditional kinds of action one that will enable her to bring it to court.” (Thome v. Alexander & Lousia Calder Found., 70 A.D.3d 88, 100 [1st Dept. 2009].)

The Court’s Decision

“It is firmly established that the decision of whether to grant declaratory relief is discretionary in character.” (Smyley v. Tejada, 171 A.D.2d 660, 661 [1991].)

Given the tension between declaratory judgment and the long-standing prohibition on advisory opinions, courts are particularly careful to render declaratory judgments only when there is an “actual presently existing controversy,” and a judgment will have an immediate practical effect on the parties’ existing legal relationship. (Standardbred Owners Ass’n v. Yonkers Raceway, 1 A.D.2d 882, 882 [1st Dept. 1956].) Similarly, courts refuse to entertain requests for declaratory judgments that address hypothetical controversies and depend upon the speculative occurrence of future events. (Prashker v. U.S. Guarantee Co., 1 N.Y.2d 584 [1956].)

Documents

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Albany County, NY

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Aug 24, 2022

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Kings County, NY

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Aug 24, 2022

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No Justice Assigned

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Nassau County, NY

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Aug 24, 2022

Case Filed

Aug 24, 2022

Case Status

Pre-RJI

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Dutchess County, NY

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Aug 24, 2022

Case Filed

Aug 24, 2022

Case Status

Pre-RJI

County

Dutchess County, NY

Filed Date

Aug 24, 2022

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Nassau County, NY

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Aug 24, 2022

County

Nassau County, NY

Filed Date

Aug 24, 2022

Case Filed

Aug 24, 2022

Case Status

Pre-RJI

County

Dutchess County, NY

Filed Date

Aug 24, 2022

Case Filed

Aug 24, 2022

Case Status

Pre-RJI

County

Dutchess County, NY

Filed Date

Aug 24, 2022

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