New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules - CVP Rule 3216. Want of prosecution

(a) Where a party unreasonably neglects to proceed generally in an action or otherwise delays in the prosecution thereof against any party who may be liable to a separate judgment, or unreasonably fails to serve and file a note of issue, the court, on its own initiative or upon motion, with notice to the parties, may dismiss the party's pleading on terms.  Unless the order specifies otherwise, the dismissal is not on the merits.

(b) No dismissal shall be directed under any portion of subdivision (a) of this rule and no court initiative shall be taken or motion made thereunder unless the following conditions precedent have been complied with:

(1) Issue must have been joined in the action;

(2) One year must have elapsed since the joinder of issue or six months must have elapsed since the issuance of the preliminary court conference order where such an order has been issued, whichever is later;

(3) The court or party seeking such relief, as the case may be, shall have served a written demand by registered or certified mail requiring the party against whom such relief is sought to resume prosecution of the action and to serve and file a note of issue within ninety days after receipt of such demand, and further stating that the default by the party upon whom such notice is served in complying with such demand within said ninety day period will serve as a basis for a motion by the party serving said demand for dismissal as against him or her for unreasonably neglecting to proceed.  Where the written demand is served by the court, the demand shall set forth the specific conduct constituting the neglect, which conduct shall demonstrate a general pattern of delay in proceeding with the litigation.

(c) In the event that the party upon whom is served the demand specified in subdivision (b)(3) of this rule serves and files a note of issue within such ninety day period, the same shall be deemed sufficient compliance with such demand and diligent prosecution of the action;  and in such event, no such court initiative shall be taken and no such motion shall be made, and if taken or made, the court initiative or motion to dismiss shall be denied.

(d) After an action has been placed on the calendar by the service and filing of a note of issue, with or without any such demand, provided, however, if such demand has been served, within the said ninety day period, the action may not be dismissed by reason of any neglect, failure or delay in prosecution of the action prior to the said service and filing of such note of issue.

(e) In the event that the party upon whom is served the demand specified in subdivision (b)(3) of this rule fails to serve and file a note of issue within such ninety day period, the court may take such initiative or grant such motion unless the said party shows justifiable excuse for the delay and a good and meritorious cause of action.

(f) The provisions of this rule shall not apply to proceedings within rule thirty-four hundred four .

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