New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROMLEY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-009-43, Claim No. 96630, Motion No. M-66699


Synopsis


In a claim on which violations of Labor Law, §§ 200 and 241(6) were found following a trial on liability, defendant's motion seeking a vacatur of a portion of the interlocutory judgment on liability was granted, and the Court vacated its finding of liability under Labor Law, § 200.

Case Information

UID:
2003-009-43
Claimant(s):
ROBERT D. BROMLEY and AMY JO BROMLEY
Claimant short name:
BROMLEY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
96630
Motion number(s):
M-66699
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant's attorney:
SASSANI & SCHENCK, P.C.
BY: Kathleen C. Sassani, Esq.,Of Counsel.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Rupp, Baase, Pfalzgraf & Cunningham, LLC
R. Anthony Rupp III, Esq.,Of Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 3, 2003
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant seeks an order vacating a portion of an interlocutory judgment on liability, and the decision of this Court on which it was based.

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


Memorandum of Law in Support 3

Affidavit in Support by Kathleen C. Sassani, Esq, Claimants' Attorney. 4


Supplemental Memorandum of Law in Support 5


Correspondence from Kathleen C. Sassani, Esq., in Support of Application, dated

July 9, 2003 6

Claimant Robert D. Bromley[1] was injured in a construction accident on August 14, 1996. At the time of this accident, claimant was employed by Santaro Construction Company, which had entered into a contract with the State to perform certain construction work on New York State Route 3 near Oswego, New York. Claimants filed the instant claim against the State, seeking damages for claimant's injuries pursuant to § 200 and § 241(6) of the Labor Law. In a written decision dated December 19, 2001, limited to the issue of liability, this Court found that the State was liable to claimant under both Labor Law §§ 200 and 241(6). The Court further found comparative negligence against the claimant, and held him 50% responsible for his injuries. An Interlocutory Judgment on liability, based upon this written decision, was entered on January 22, 2002.

Defendant now seeks an order of this Court vacating that portion of the Interlocutory Judgment, and the written decision on which it is based, as they relate to a finding of liability under Labor Law § 200.

Defendant's counsel argues that a vacatur would facilitate settlement of this claim, and as such would protect the public's interest by promoting the efficient administration of justice. In support of this application, defendant's attorney asserts that this case has limited precedential value, and that vacatur would not limit the availability of information to future litigants.

After reviewing the papers presented by defendant, however, it was difficult to find a compelling reason for this Court to exercise its discretion to vacate its prior decision, a decision which was made after a careful consideration of the evidence presented at the liability trial. The Court therefore scheduled oral argument, at which time counsel for both parties appeared and together argued in favor of vacatur.

After due and careful consideration, the Court is persuaded by the fact that claimants have joined in this application, and finds that if it exercises its discretion by vacating a portion of its liability decision as requested herein, claimants will then be assured of receiving their adequate and just compensation in a prompt and timely manner. The Court further finds that such fact outweighs any other concerns that may exist herein, and the Court specifically makes no findings with respect to those concerns. Therefore, the Court finds that under the unique circumstances of this case, and only this case, the requested relief should be granted.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that this Court's prior decision on liability, dated December 19, 2001, and the Interlocutory Judgment entered January 22, 2002, are both hereby vacated, in as much as they pertain to a finding of liability under Labor Law § 200; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Court is hereby directed to issue a corrected Interlocutory Judgment on liability, in accordance with this decision and order.


September 3, 2003
Syracuse, New York

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




[1] The claim of Amy Jo Bromley is derivative in nature. Therefore, all references to claimant, unless otherwise specified, are to Robert D. Bromley.