New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

VAN STEENBURG v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-015-202, Claim No. 103515, Motion No. M-64016


Claimant's second motion seeking vacatur of prior decision pursuant to CPLR 5015 or, in the alternative, seeking recusal of the Court 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:
Edward Van Steenburg, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Kathleen M. Resnick, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 5, 2001
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant's motion pursuant to CPLR 5015 for an order vacating the Court's prior decisions and orders dated April 24, 2001 and July 31, 2001 or, alternatively, seeking recusal of the undersigned Judge of this Court is denied. The claim seeks to recover money damages for the alleged negligent destruction of New York State Police Troop "F" log books/blotter entries for October 3 and 4, 1992. Claimant alleges that the blotter entries and/or log book entries were destroyed, allegedly pursuant to State Police rules and regulations, while claimant had an outstanding FOIL request pending for the material. His request was dated July 16, 1998. Claimant alleges that the information contained in the log books/blotter entries constituted exculpatory evidence tending to disprove testimony offered against him by his wife at a criminal trial held in Sullivan County Court. Claimant was convicted on all counts of a Sullivan County Grand Jury Indictment (232-92) and was sentenced to fifteen to thirty years in prison. Claimant further claims that the denial of access to the police log books/blotter entries deprived him of the opportunity to obtain a vacatur of the judgment of conviction and a new trial. Claimant moves for the second time for relief pursuant to CPLR 5015 seeking to have this Court vacate not only its decision and order dated April 24, 2001 which dismissed his claim but also to vacate the decision and order of the Court dated July 31, 2001 which denied claimant's motion for renewal/reargument of the prior motion and denied claimant's alternative request for relief pursuant to CPLR 5015.

A motion pursuant to CPLR 5015 is addressed to the sound discretion of the Court and must be based upon one of the following grounds enumerated in the rule: excusable default; newly discovered evidence; fraud, misrepresentation or other misconduct of an adverse party; lack of jurisdiction or reversal, modification or vacatur of a prior judgment or order upon which it is based. Claimant's allegation that the Court's July 31, 2001decision and order is newly discovered evidence upon which he predicates this motion is without merit. Claimant's failure to allege the applicability of any of the other statutory bases set forth in CPLR 5015 (a) requires its denial. Claimant's alternative request for recusal is likewise denied. The Court's decision and order dated April 24, 2001 dismissed the claim and that dismissal was not affected by the claimant's earlier motion. Since there is no claim pending before the Court recusal is unnecessary.

The Court likewise denies the State's purported cross-motion for sanctions pursuant to 22 NYCRR Part 130 since the affirmation of defendant's attorney was not accompanied by a notice of cross-motion. The absence of a notice of cross-motion deprives the Court of jurisdiction to consider the relief otherwise requested (CPLR 2215; Vanek v Mercy Hospital, 135 AD2d 707; Marsico v Southland Corp., 148 AD2d 503).

November 5, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated August 30, 2001;
  2. Affidavit of Edward Van Steenburg sworn to August 28, 2001, with exhibits;
  3. Letter dated September 6, 2001 from Edward Van Steenburg;
  4. Affirmation of Kathleen M. Resnick September 11, 2001;
  5. Affidavit of Edward Van Steenburg dated September 17, 2001.