With the exploding use of the Internet, our legal system has evolved and adapted to the new technologies. These evolutionary modifications have clearly been accelerated by the pandemic and the temporary shutdown of our court systems, followed by the expanded use of the NYSCEF system for filing and service, and the concomitant diminished reliance upon paper. Many of these changes were already trending and merely put on fast forward by the pandemic.
While the courts are in the process of adapting to technological changes, the application of longstanding principles of law to new contexts has sometimes led to conflicting results. That is evident in the very recent decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, in Philadelphia Insurance Indemnity Co. v. Kendall, 2021 NY Slip Op 04284 (1st Dep’t 2021). The court examined what constitutes a properly subscribed writing under CPLR 2104 so as to constitute a binding stipulation when it is transmitted in an email. The result reached by this First Department decision is at odds with the conclusion of the Second Department in its earlier decision in Forcelli v. Gelco, 109 A.D.3d 244 (2d Dep’t 2013).