New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BUAMAH v. THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, #2003-016-035, Claim No. 104966,105300, Motion No. M-66013


Synopsis


Motion to withdraw as counsel was granted.

Case Information

UID:
2003-016-035
Claimant(s):
PATRICIA BUAMAH .The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant is the City University of New York.
Claimant short name:
BUAMAH
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant is the City University of New York.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104966105300
Motion number(s):
M-66013
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Sanders, Sanders, Block & Woycik, P.C.By: Barbara E. Manes, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralNo Appearance
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 8, 2003
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

This is a motion to permit the withdrawal of claimant's lawyers, Sanders, Sanders, Block & Woycik, P.C. Counsel also requests a charging lien. In the underlying claims,[1] it is alleged that Ms. Buamah, a student at Lehman College of the City University of New York, was injured when she was struck by a desktop, causing her to fall. In the affidavit of service attached to counsel's papers, it is stated that this motion was sent by both regular mail and certified mail, return receipt requested to Priscilla Buamah and by regular mail to defendant.[2] See the affidavit of service of Christopher Bauer submitted with counsel's moving papers. Neither Ms. Buamah nor defendant responded to the motion.

There must be a showing of good cause and reasonable notice before an attorney will be permitted to terminate the attorney-client relationship. See, e.g., J. M. Heinike Associates, Inc. v Liberty Nat. Bank, 142 AD2d 929, 530 NYS2d 355 (4th Dept 1988). What constitutes good cause is not an objective determination, but rather lies within the sound discretion of the trial court. See, e.g., People v Salquerro, 107 Misc 2d 155, 433 NYS2d 711 (Sup Ct NY County 1980).

In this case, counsel states that a disagreement has arisen between claimant and counsel as to the course of this lawsuit. Counsel also states that despite numerous attempts to discuss this matter with claimant, claimant has failed to communicate with counsel, either by writing or telephone. In view of the foregoing, I find that there has been a showing of good cause to be relieved.

Accordingly, having reviewed the parties' submissions[3], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-66013 be granted to the extent that:
  1. Permission to withdraw is hereby granted to Sanders, Sanders, Block & Woycik P.C., upon satisfaction of the requirements of ¶2 hereof.
  2. Within fourteen (14) days of the filing of this Decision and Order, Sanders, Sanders, Block & Woycik, P.C. shall serve upon Patricia Buamah a file-stamped copy of this Decision and Order by certified mail, return receipt requested and by regular mail. Counsel shall thereafter promptly file an affidavit of such service, with the return receipt attached, with the Clerk of the Court. Only upon the Clerk's receipt of such affidavit with return receipt, shall Sanders, Sanders, Block & Woycik, P.C. be relieved from representation of claimant; and
  3. No further proceedings shall take place with respect to this claim until ninety (90) days after the filing of this Decision and Order, so as to permit Patricia Buamah to retain new counsel if desired. Patricia Buamah shall, within 90 days of the filing of this Decision & Order, notify the Clerk of the Court (New York State Court of Claims, Box 7344, Capitol Station, Albany, NY 12224) and the State of New York (Albert Masry, Esq., AAG, New York State Department of Law, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271) in writing of her intention to proceed without counsel (pro se), or file a notice of appearance by a new attorney.
  4. If Patricia Buamah fails to so notify the Clerk of the Court or appear by new counsel within such 90-day period, the claim herein will be deemed dismissed (22 NYCRR 206.15), and no further order of this Court will be required.
5. With respect to counsel's request for a charging lien, such is denied without prejudice to whatever rights to compensation counsel may have pursuant to §475 of the Judiciary Law or otherwise.



May 8, 2003
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1].Counsel filed two separate claims, both of which arise from the same incident.
  1. [2]The motion papers as served referred only to claim no. 104966. On March 3, 2003, the Court wrote to Ms. Buamah and deemed this motion to refer to both claim no. 104966 and claim no. 105300. Ms. Buamah was directed to submit opposition papers, if any, by April 9, 2003. No such papers were submitted.
  2. [3]The following were reviewed: counsel's order to show cause with affirmation in support, exhibits A and B and affidavit of service.