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In the Matter of Greater New York Health Care Facilities Assoc., 1998 N.Y. Int. 0078 (June 11, 1998).

CIVIL PROCEDURE - PROPOSED INTERVENTION AND RELATION BACK


ISSUE & DISPOSITION

Issue

Whether the claims of proposed intervenors may relate back to the filing date of the original petition, even if the proposed intervenors are unrelated to petitioners but similarly aggrieved, and their claims would expose respondents to additional liability.

Disposition

No. The claims of proposed intervenors may not relate back if their claims expose resopondents to additional liability.

SUMMARY

Nursing homes attempted to intervene in a CPLR article 78 proceeding in which petitioners, an association of nursing homes and eight independent nursing homes, were challenging Department of Health regulations which established Medicaid reimbursement rates applicable to petitioners' facilities. The proposed intervenors claimed that the caption of petitioners' proceeding -- suing on "Behalf of All Other Similarly Situated Residential Health Care Facilities" -- falsely led them to believe that their rights were being protected. The proposed intervenors filed a motion to intervene on December 15, 1995, after learning that the settlement between petitioners and respondents did not include them. The trial court conditionally granted the motion on an expedited basis and allowed respondents to move for reargument within 90 days. After reargument the trial court held that intervention was appropriate and that intervenors' claims would be allowed to relate back to the commencement date of the proceeding and, hence, not be time-barred. The Appellate Division reversed after evaluating whether proposed intervenors' claims could properly relate back under CPLR 203(f). The court reasoned that due to the increased liability that the respondents would incur under the settlement from an unrelated set of claimants, the claims did not relate back. The court granted the proposed intervenors leave to appeal on the certified question of whether its order was properly made.

The Court of Appeals answered the certified question in the affirmative, and affirmed. Although CPLR 7802 grants broader authority to allow intervention in an article 78 proceeding than is provided pursuant to CPLR 1013 in an action, the Court emphasized that intervention cannot be used as a means to revive stale claims. The Court ruled that proposed intervenors' claim could not properly relate back to the filing date of (petitioners') petition because (1) its claim, relating to an individualized reimbursement rate, was not grounded in the same transaction and occurrence raised in the petition, and therefore (2) did not give the respondent notice of the proposed intervenors' specific claim. In support of this holding, the Court pointed out that the settlement agreed to by respondents and petitioners was applicable only to timely claims. The Court declined to distinguish between an article 78 proceeding and an action for purposes of relating back.


Prepared by the liibulletin-ny Editorial Board.