New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CIAPRAZI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-011-559, Claim No. 101712, Motion No. M-61744


Claimant's motion for summary judgment brought to recover the cost of repair of a typewriter alleged to have been damages due to the negligent handling of the item by the defendant is denied.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Roberto Ciaprazi, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Eileen E. Bryant, Esq., Assistant Attorney General)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 16, 2000
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant has moved for summary judgment in this claim brought to recover the cost of repair of a typewriter alleged to have been damaged due to the negligent handling of the item by defendant. The proponent of a motion for summary judgment must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to demonstrate the absence of any material issues of fact (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851, 853). Once this showing has been made the burden shifts to the party opposing the motion to produce evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to establish the existence of material issues of fact which require a trial (Alvarez v Prospect Hospital, 68 NY2d 320).

In support of the motion, Claimant has submitted an affidavit in which he alleges that he purchased a new typewriter in January 1999 while incarcerated at Coxsackie Correctional Facility. According to Claimant, in September 1999 he was transferred to another facility and during the processing of his personal property the typewriter was, over his objection, placed at the bottom of a draft bag by a correction officer. When he was again given access to the typewriter in October 1999 he discovered that certain functions of the typewriter did not work properly although, he maintains, the machine had not malfunctioned prior to being packed in September 1999.

A motion for summary judgment is the procedural equivalent of a trial (Koen v Carl Co., 70 AD2d 695). Where, as here, the only evidence submitted in support of the motion is the party's own sworn statement, the issue of credibility is for the trier of fact and a court should not grant summary judgment on the basis of self-serving statements, especially when the statements relate to matters within the exclusive knowledge of the moving party (Denkensohn v. Davenport, 130 AD2d 860, 862). The allegation that the typewriter was in a damaged state after shipping could be verified and therefore, is not within the exclusive knowledge of Claimant. However, the statement by Claimant that the typewriter was not damaged before shipping is self-serving, and within his exclusive knowledge, in the absence of an allegation that defendant checked the condition of the machine before packing it for shipment. Though the allegation may ultimately be credited, the truth of the statement should be judged after a trial where the court has had the opportunity to observe the witness. Accordingly, the motion is denied.

August 16, 2000
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Notice of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment dated May 15, 2000.
2. Affidavit in Support of Claimant sworn to the 15th day of May, 2000 with exhibits annexed.
3. Affirmation in Opposition of Eileen E. Bryant, Esq., dated June 14, 2000 with exhibits annexed.
4. Unsworn affidavit of Claimant dated June 10, 2000 with exhibits annexed.