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SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

COUNTY OF BRONX

GIOVANNI ARNOLD, AFFIRMATION

Plaintiff, Index No. 25733/2018

-against-

BELCALIS ALMANZAR p/k/a CARDI B, KIARI


KENDRELL CEPHUS p/k/a OFFSET, QUALITY
CONTROL MANAGEMENT, LLC, MARK HOTEL LLC
and JOHN DOES 1-3,

Defendants.

Daniel S. Szalkiewicz, an attorney duly admitted to practice before the courts of the State of New

York, hereby affirms, under the penalties of perjury, as follows:

1. I am an attorney at Daniel Szalkiewicz & Associates, P.C.., attorneys for plaintiff,

GIOVANNI ARNOLD (“Plaintiff”). I am familiar with all the facts and circumstances set forth

in this affirmation.

2. I submit this affirmation in support of Plaintiff’s application to extend the period

of time to serve defendants BELCALIS ALMANZAR p/k/a CARDI B, QUALITY CONTROL

MANAGEMENT, LLC and JOHN DOES 1-3 (“Defendants”).

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

3. On May 8, 2018, while standing outside of Mark Hotel LLC (“Mark Hotel”)

Plaintiff was assaulted by a group of men (“John Does 1-3”) in the service of Belcalis Almanzar

p/k/a Cardi B (“Cardi B”) and Kiari Kendrell Cephus p/k/a Offset (“Offset”). Upon information

or belief, John Does 1-3 were employed by either Cardi B and Offset or their management

company, Quality Control Management LLC (“QCM”).

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4. Plaintiff filed the Summons and Complaint on May 16, 2018, copies of which are

annexed hereto as Exhibit “1[.]”

5. Ms. Almanzar was seven months pregnant at the time of the assault and, out of

respect and consideration for her and her baby’s wellbeing, as well as that of her fiancé, Offset, I

chose not to immediately serve the Defendants.

6. In July, our office was contacted by a firm who represented Ms. Almanzar, Lester

Schwab Katz & Dwyer, LLP and I asked whether they would be willing to accept service on

behalf of their clients.

7. Mr. Gerald Gunning, a partner at the firm, indicated in an e-mail (annexed hereto

as Exhibit “2”) that he believed we would have difficulty serving his clients. Before he was able

to inform us whether he could accept service on their behalf, a new firm was substituted1.

8. During a telephone call on or about August 13, 2018, Ms. Almanzar’s new

counsel, Mr. Steven Rosenfeld of Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varriale, LLP informed me that

he could not accept service on his clients’ behalf.

9. Cardi B and Offset, who reside at the same address, go to great lengths to keep

their whereabouts a secret. In December 2017, a judge in one of Offset’s child support cases

granted his request to keep his e-mail, personal address, and other information confidential (see

article reporting on ruling, annexed hereto as Exhibit “3”).

10. In another case against Offset, a Marshal’s Entry of Service filed by the

Magistrate of Fulton County, State of Georgia dated July 2, 2018, indicates that Offset’s last

known address (4817 Cascade Road S.W. Atlanta, GA 30331) is now vacant.

11. With Offset and Cardi B’s firm unwilling to accept service, court documents that

would otherwise make their address public made confidential, and their last known address being
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While that firm indicated they represented Ms. Almanzar, they have no put in a notice of appearance.

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vacant, we were forced to attempt service while Offset and Cardi B during their appearances at

events.

12. On August 21, 2018, at approximately 2:45 p.m., Offset was personally served

with the Summons and Complaint in front of the London NYC at 141 W. 54th Street in

Manhattan. Unhappy he was served, he threw the documents out the window of his SUV and

drove away.

13. Similar attempts at locating and serving Cardi B on the street or hotels have been

undertaken but difficult because of security and her erratic schedule (for example, the media

reports Ms. Almanzar often comes back to her hotel rooms into the late hours of the night), we

have been unable to personally deliver the papers to her.

14. Diligent attempts to locate Cardi B and Offset’s address have so far been fruitless

and the parties’ dedication to avoiding responsibility for their actions has made it impossible for

Plaintiff to serve them within the 120-day time frame.

15. Attempts to effectuate service on Cardi B and Offset’s management company,

QCM, have been similarly vexing, as the sole address listed on the Georgia Secretary of State’s

database (541 Tenth Street NW, Suite 365 Atlanta, GA 30318) is a mailbox located in a UPS

store (see business filing and street view annexed hereto as Exhibit “4”). We have been

informed that, unlike in New York, the Georgia Rules of Civil Procedure do not permit the

corporation to be served through the Department of State.

16. At the time of the filing of this motion, the period to serve the Defendants has not

yet expired.

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ARGUMENT

POINT I

THE COURT SHOULD EXERCISE ITS DISCRETION TO GRANT AN EXTENSION


OF THE TIME TO SERVE THE SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT

17. New York courts have broad discretion to grant an extension of time to serve the

summons with notice either “upon good cause shown or in the interests of justice” CPLR § 306-

b. Here, Plaintiff can establish “good cause” for an extension of time and that doing so is in the

“interests of justice.”

A. New York Courts Have Broad Discretion to Permit Extensions of Time for Service

18. The Court of Appeals, considering motions to extend time to serve the Summons

with Notice under CPLR § 306-b, has held that the “statute empowers a court faced with the

dismissal of a viable claim to consider any factor relevant to the exercise of its discretion”

(Leader v. Maroney, Ponzini & Spencer, 97 N.Y.2d 95, 761 N.Y.S.2d 291 [2001]).

19. The Leader court held that while “[n]o one factor is determinative - the calculus

of the court's decision is dependent on the competing interests of the litigants and a clearly

expressed desire by the Legislature that the interests of justice be served.” Id.

20. The Court of Appeals noted also that the legislative history of CPLR 306-b shows

“unequivocal[ly]” that the inspiration for the New York rule is its Federal counterpart, Rule 4(m)

of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 97 N.Y.2d 95, 105, 761 N.E.2d 1018, 1024-25, 736

N.Y.S. 2d 291, 297-98. The Leader court further explained that Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) provides

alternative grounds for a plaintiff seeking an extension of time to serve process. Id. “The rule

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explicitly mandates that ‘if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court shall extend

the time for service’... [and] [t]he rule also authorizes a second, unspecified discretionary basis

for extension ‘even if there is not good cause shown.” Id. (Citations omitted and emphasis

added). New York's equivalent of the discretionary basis for extension under Fed. R. Civ. P.

4(m) is the “interest of justice test,” which does not require a showing that counsel was

reasonably diligent in attempting service. Leader, 97 N.Y.2d 95, 105, 761 N.E.2d 1018, 1024-25,

736 N.Y.S. 2d 291, 297-98.

B. Plaintiff's Time to Serve the Defendants Should Be Extended as it is in the Interests


of Justice

21. New York courts are empowered to extend the time for service of the Summons

and Complaint when doing so is in the interests of justice (See CPLR § 306-b). “The interest of

justice standard requires a careful judicial analysis of the factual setting of the case and a

balancing of the competing interests presented by the parties.” (Leader, 97 N.Y.2d 95, 105, 761

N.E.2d 1018, 1024-25, 736 N.Y.S. 2d 291, 297-98).

22. In determining whether to extend the time for service in the interest of justice, the

factors to be considered include diligence in attempting to effect service, expiration of the statute

of limitations, the meritorious nature of the cause of action, the length of delay in service, the

promptness of a plaintiff’s request for the extension of time, and prejudice to the defendant. Id.

Here, these factors overwhelmingly favor granting Plaintiff’s motion for extension of his time to

serve the Defendants.

23. Diligence in Attempting to Effect Service. The time to serve Defendants has not

yet expired. Plaintiff has scoured the internet for Cardi B and Offset’s address, poring over

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countless legal filings and interviews in order to ascertain their home address. Unfortunately,

like others who have attempted to serve Offset at home (see notice indicating that his house is

vacant annexed hereto as Exhibit “5”), Plaintiff has been unsuccessful. As a result, Plaintiff had

to serve Offset while he was visiting New York by delivering a copy of papers to him while he

was in his SUV.

24. Lack of Prejudice to Defendants. Defendants Cardi B and Offset are well aware of

the lawsuit against them as it was heavily publicized and they were asked for comment on the

matter; further, their attorneys have contacted my office regarding the case. Neither Cardi B nor

her management company will suffer any additional prejudice should the request for an

extension of time to serve Defendants be granted.

25. Statute of Limitations. The Summons and Complaint was filed approximately

eight days after Plaintiff’s assault, far in advance of the expiration of the one-year statute of

limitations applicable for assault. An extension of the period of time to serve Defendants would

still be well within the statute of limitations.

26. Plaintiff’s Claims Against the Defendants Are Meritorious. Plaintiff has a

meritorious cause of action against Defendants based on the heinous assault that he suffered at

the hands of those under the employ of Cardi B, Offset, and/or QCM – all of which was captured

on video.

27. Length of Delay in Service. The 120-day period during which Plaintiff was

required to serve Defendants has not yet expired.

28. The facts at play in this case support a finding that granting Plaintiff’s request for

additional time to serve Defendants is in the interest of justice.

29. In sum, here, the interests of justice are best served by the Court granting of the

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motion to extend the time to serve the Summons and Complaint on the Defendants because: (1)

Plaintiff has undertaken significant efforts to locate Offset and Cardi B’s home address, which

they actively ensure remains concealed from public viewing and their attorney has refused to

accept service on their behalf; (2) Plaintiff has undertaken efforts to serve QCM at its listed

address, but has been thwarted as the physical address and principal office address listed with

the Georgia Secretary of State belong to a UPS Store in a strip mall and Georgia Rules of Civil

Procedure do not provide for serving the Secretary of State; (3) the Summons and Complaint

were filed just eight days after the assault and the one-year statute of limitations has not lapsed;

(4) Plaintiff’s claims against the Defendants are meritorious; (5) the Defendants cannot

demonstrate any prejudice attributable to the delay in service; and (6) there is a well-settled

policy preference for determination of disputes on the merits rather than procedurally.

C. Good Cause Exists for the Extension of Time to Serve The Defendants

30. Alternatively, the Court should find that good cause exists for extending

Plaintiff’s time to serve the Defendants. Plaintiff’s counsel was reasonably diligent in attempting

to serve the Defendants, who in turn have been similarly diligent in ensuring their address

remains a secret. Cardi B and Offset, who are both popular celebrities and each have their own

extensive histories of violence upon others, have been exceedingly difficult to personally serve.

Further, their attorney has indicated that he is not willing to accept service on their behalf.

Plaintiff should not be penalized for his inability to timely serve Defendants as a result of

difficulties outside of his control.

31. No previous application has been made for the relief requested herein.

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WHEREFORE, for all of the foregoing, it is respectfully requested that Plaintiff’s motion

be granted.

Dated: New York, New York


September 11, 2018

_______________________
Daniel S. Szalkiewicz