New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BATTY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-009-49, Claim No. 103858, Motion No. M-65547


Synopsis


Defendant's motion to consolidate two claims was granted, to the extent that the Court ordered coordinated discovery and a single trial on liability.

Case Information

UID:
2002-009-49
Claimant(s):
GEOFFREY C. BATTY
Claimant short name:
BATTY
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103858
Motion number(s):
M-65547
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY, JR.
Claimant's attorney:
MICHAELS & SMOLAK, P.C.
BY: Jan M. Smolak, Esq.,Of Counsel.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Sassani & Schenck, P.C.
Jane G. Kuppermann, Esq.,Of Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 11, 2002
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)
2002-009-49a

Decision

Defendant has brought this motion to consolidate the above claims, as well as to extend dates for the completion of discovery in both claims.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with this motion:
Notice of Motion, Affidavit, with Exhibits 1,2


Letter dated July 12, 2002 from Sharon M. Sulimowicz, Esq. (Attorney for Rick Robinson) 3

Letter dated July 16, 2002 from Jan M. Smolak, Esq. (Attorney for Geoffrey C. Batty) 4

Claimant Geoffrey C. Batty and claimant Rick Robinson were passengers in the same motor vehicle which was involved in an accident on May 15, 1999, on New York State Route 34B. They both seek damages for their respective injuries allegedly sustained in this motor vehicle accident. Defendant now seeks to consolidate these claims.

CPLR Section 602 governs consolidation and provides that in pertinent part:

(a) Generally. When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before a court, the court, upon motion, may order a joint trial of any or all the matters in issue, may order the actions consolidated, and may make such other orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.


It is therefore obvious that both of these claims involve common questions of law and fact, and that the essential questions concerning liability against the State will be identical in both claims.

Furthermore, it is the policy in this Court to bifurcate trials with regard to liability and damages. It is therefore appropriate to join these claims for purposes of a trial on liability, since it appears that the witnesses, as well as all testimony, will be virtually identical to both claims.


Defendant also seeks an extension of the dates previously ordered by this Court for the completion of discovery in both claims. A "Stipulation and Order" was issued by this Court in the Batty claim (Claim No. 103858) which required that all disclosure be completed by August 20, 2002, and that a note of issue was to be filed by September 17, 2002. In the Robinson claim (Claim No. 106240), a "Stipulation and Order" provides that all disclosure must be completed by January 9, 2004 and that a note of issue be filed by January 30, 2004.

From the papers submitted in support of this motion, it does not appear that substantial discovery has been conducted in either claim. In order to allow the parties time to coordinate and complete discovery in both claims, it appears to the Court that the time frames set forth in the Robinson "Stipulation and Order" are appropriate.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-65547 is hereby GRANTED, to the extent that there shall be a single trial as to liability for the above referenced claims. Each claim shall retain its assigned claim number, and separate judgments shall be entered for each claim following trial; and it is further

ORDERED, that to the extent possible, discovery shall be coordinated so as to avoid duplication, and that all disclosure in both claims shall be completed by January 9, 2004, and a note of issue for each claim shall be served and filed by January 30, 2004. Should any party need additional time to complete discovery, such request must be made, in writing, prior to the expiration of the time periods provided herein.

October 11, 2002
Syracuse, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY, JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims