Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibits 1,2
Affirmation in Opposition 3
This claim, alleging negligence against the State, was filed on December 22,
1995, seeking damages for injuries suffered by claimant when he fell on a wooden
staircase located on the campus of the State University of New York at Cortland.
At a calendar call on February 9, 1999, this Court directed that a note of
issue and certificate of readiness be filed by claimant on or before July 1,
1999. Claimant did not file the note of issue as directed by the Court, nor did
claimant request and extension of time to comply with this order, or otherwise
communicate with the Court. Therefore another calendar call was scheduled for
May 16, 2000, at 9:30 a.m., upon notice provided to counsel for both parties.
Claimant's counsel did not appear at the time scheduled for this conference.
Based upon this non-appearance, as well as the fact that a note of issue and
certificate of readiness had not been filed as previously ordered, the Court
considered the claim abandoned and dismissed the claim on the record.
A short time later, claimant's counsel appeared at the calendar call at
approximately 11:00 a.m., at which time he was advised that an order had been
made dismissing the claim. He was further advised that the Court would
reconsider its decision to dismiss only upon a motion duly served and filed in
accordance with § 206.15 of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims.
This motion ensued.
In his supporting affirmation, claimant's counsel states that due to "an
administrative error", he had noted an incorrect time for the calendar call in
his diary, and therefore appeared late.
While the Court is concerned that there was no appearance on behalf of claimant
at the designated time for this conference, it does acknowledge the fact that
although he was late, claimant's counsel did in fact appear on the date set for
the conference. What is more troubling to the Court, however, is the apparent
disregard given to the prior scheduling order which required a note of issue to
be served and filed by July 1, 1999. In his supporting affirmation, claimant's
counsel infers that he was unable to comply with this deadline because he had
been unable to complete depositions, and had not received full responses to
certain discovery demands. The Court notes, however, that claimant's counsel
did not bring any motion to compel depositions or disclosure, nor did he request
any extension of the deadlines set in the prior scheduling order made by this
Court. In other words, claimant's counsel certainly had available to him
remedies other than his decision to simply ignore the scheduling order.
Notwithstanding the above, it does appear by the affirmation of claimant's
counsel that some effort had been made to advance this claim through the
discovery phase. It is therefore the decision of this Court that this claim
should be reinstated, and restored to this Court's calendar of open and untried
Furthermore, in order to ensure that this claim proceeds to trial readiness,
the Court directs that all discovery shall be completed on or before April 30,
2001, and a note of issue and certificate of readiness shall be served and filed
by claimant no later than May 25, 2001. Claimant is cautioned that any
violation of the time frames set forth herein will not be tolerated by the
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, that Motion No. M-62280 is hereby GRANTED, in accordance with the