New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

OEHL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-015-192, Claim No. 94125, Motion No. M-63913


Motion of claimant's attorneys to be released as attorneys of record on basis of irreconcilable differences granted. Claimant to advise Court of name and address of new attorney; all proceeding stayed until December 17. 2001.

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:
Sweeney, Cohn, Stahl & Vaccaro, EsquiresBy: Wayne H. Spector, Esquire
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: J. Gardner Ryan, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 17, 2001
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The motion of Sweeney, Cohn, Stahl & Vaccaro, Esquires for an order pursuant to CPLR § 321 permitting Wayne H. Spector and the aforementioned law firm to withdraw as attorneys of record for claimant and for a stay of proceedings for 45 days to allow claimant to obtain new counsel is granted. In a claim filed on May 31, 1996 claimant asserts a cause of action for personal injuries arising out of the alleged negligence of the State in failing to properly design, construct and maintain State Route 129 and the Hunterbrook Bridge in the Town of Yorktown, Westchester County, New York and in failing to warn motorists of dangerous conditions existing thereon on December 21, 1994, the date of the claimant's motor vehicle accident.

Claimant's counsel brought this application by order to show cause seeking to be relieved as claimant's attorneys of record upon the contention that claimant has failed to cooperate with his attorneys and has refused to follow counsel's advice regarding this claim. Defense counsel has submitted an affirmation stating that the State takes no position with regard to the instant application but expressed concerns regarding the date by which claimant will be required to inform the Court of the name and address of his new attorney or his decision to represent himself.

A motion by an attorney to withdraw should be granted "upon a showing of irreconcilable differences between attorney and client" (Djeddah v Williams, 267 AD2d 156). Irreconcilable differences can arise from a disagreement between the attorney and the client with respect to the proper course to be pursued in the litigation as well as a lack of cooperation (Winters v Rise Steel Erection Corp., 231 AD2d 626). Here, the attorney's allegations are sufficient to show that claimant's general lack of cooperation has caused a breakdown in the attorney/client relationship justifying the relief requested. The Court will stay all proceedings on this claim until December 17 2001, to permit claimant to obtain new counsel and to advise the Court in writing of such attorney's name and address (Welch Allyn v Vail Tool Co., 219 AD2d 824) or to advise the Court that he intends to represent himself on this claim.

October 17, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Order to show cause dated July, 2001
  2. Affirmation of Wayne H. Spector dated July 5, 2001; affidavit of personal service on the claimant dated July 27, 2001;
  3. Affirmation of J. Gardner Ryan dated August 6, 2001.