Here’s a new decision that deals with what appears to be an issue of first impression. The defendant, who is an Orthodox Jew, was served with a motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint on the day after Yom Kippur. The defendant argued that service was improper under NY General Business Law Sec. 13. General Business Law §13 provides:
“Whoever maliciously procures any process in a civil action to be served on Saturday, upon any person who keeps Saturday as holy time, and does not labor on that day, or serves upon him any process returnable on that day, or maliciously procures any civil action to which such person is a party to be adjourned to that day for trial, is guilty of a misdemeanor.” This section has been construed to extend to religious holidays. The defendant argued that “the entire period between Yom Kippur and Sukkos is considered to be a holy period” and that service was therefore defective.
The court recognized Yom Kippur as a holy day and stated that it was “sensitive to Mr. Englander’s religious beliefs, including his professed belief that the entire period between Yom Kippur and Sukkos is a holy period.” The court went on to say “However, the day after Yom Kippur is not generally recognized as a religious holiday. Therefore, General Business Law §13 cannot be extended to cover the day after Yom Kippur, and service of the summons and motion in this action on that day was valid and proper.”
The court explained in a footnote that: “Taking Englander’s argument to its logical extreme, he would have the Court defer any action on any day when any individual subjectively determined that day to be a religious holiday. Such is not and cannot be the law; otherwise, an individual could declare every day a religious holiday and always be immune from the Court’s power.” Here is a link to the full decision.