275 A.D.2d 1000 (2000)

715 N.Y.S.2d 201

NORINE RINKER, Respondent, v. TEJBIR OBEROI, Appellant.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Fourth Department.

Decided September 29, 2000.

Order unanimously affirmed with costs.


Supreme Court properly granted plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint to add causes of action for fraud and to amend the ad damnum clause to add a claim for punitive damages. "In the absence of prejudice to the nonmoving party and where the amendment is not `plainly lacking in merit' (Sabol & Rice v Poughkeepsie Galleria Co., 175 A.D.2d 555, 556), leave to amend pleadings should be `freely given' (CPLR 3025 [b])" (Silvin v Karwoski, 242 A.D.2d 945). Defendant failed to show that he would be prejudiced by the amendment, and plaintiff made a sufficient showing that the causes of action for fraud and the claim for punitive damages are not plainly lacking in merit. Plaintiff further showed that the causes of action for fraud are separate and distinct from those alleging dental malpractice (see, Simcuski v Saeli, 44 N.Y.2d 442, 453-454; Howe v Ampil, 185 A.D.2d 520, 521).


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