Surrogate Margarita Lopez Torres
Objectant sought to dismiss the probate proceeding for proponent’s failure to comply with disclosure under a prior court order, and directing him to pay costs for a stenographer and transcript arising from the SCPA 1404 examinations of attesting witnesses. Proponent moved for leave to reargue his motion to disqualify objectant’s law firm. Objectant, decedent’s daughter and sole distributee, but not a beneficiary under the propounded instrument. She served pre-objection disclosure demands on proponent, and received largely unresponsive answers. Also, the attorney-drafter, while appearing for §1404 exam, was uncooperative. The court found it did not overlook or misapprehend the relevant law or facts in denying proponent’s baseless motion to disqualify, denying proponent reargument. Further, it directed proponent to pay the stenographer’s invoice including for one copy of the transcript of the two attesting witnesses. Also, the court noted it was unclear if proponent’s counsel was willfully refusing to provide requested documents, or was unfamiliar with the concepts of disclosure in probate proceedings, but granted objectant’s motion to the extent of directing proponent to produce requested discovery documents, and upon a failure to comply permitting striking the probate petition.