New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

VAZQUEZ v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-016-059, Claim No. 102029, Motion No. M-66964


Counsel's motion to withdraw for one of named claimants was granted.

Case Information

REINA VAZQUEZ, as parent and natural guardian of XAVIER VAZQUEZ HOBSON, REINA VAZQUEZ and CORNELIUS HOBSON, Individually
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):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Pollack & Holden, LLPBy: David S. Pollack, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Bridget Farrell, Esq., AAG,No Appearance
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 5, 2003
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The underlying claim in this case alleges medical malpractice at Stony Brook University Hospital Medical Center, resulting in neurologic deficits in the infant claimant Xavier Vazquez Hobson. Also named as individual claimants are the infant's parents Reina Vazquez and Cornelius Hobson. This is the motion of Pollack & Holden, LLP to withdraw as counsel for Cornelius Hobson. This motion was served by overnight mail and United States Postal Service Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested on Mr. Hobson and on defendant. See the affidavit of service annexed to Pollack & Holden, LLP's moving papers. Neither Mr. Hobson nor defendant filed opposition papers.

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 has essentially asserted that Mr. Hobson has refused to cooperate to appear at his deposition, which is sought by defendant, and this has created a conflict of interest for Pollack & Holden, LLP in terms of representing the infant claimant. In view of the foregoing, I find that there has been a showing of good cause for Pollack & Holden, LLP to be relieved as Mr. Hobson's attorneys.

Accordingly, having reviewed the parties' submissions[1], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-66964 be granted to the extent that:
  1. Permission to withdraw is hereby granted to Pollack & Holden, LLP , only upon satisfaction of the requirements of ¶2 hereof.
  2. Within ten (10) days of the filing of this Decision and Order, Pollack & Holden, LLP shall serve upon Cornelius Hobson a file-stamped copy of this Decision and Order by United States Postal Service Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested and by regular mail. Counsel shall thereafter promptly file an affidavit of such service, with the United States Postal Service Return Receipt attached, with the Clerk of the Court. Only upon the Clerk's receipt of such affidavit with Return Receipt shall Pollack & Holden, LLP be relieved from representation of Cornelius Hobson; and
  3. No further proceedings shall take place with respect to this claim until sixty (60) days after the filing of this Decision and Order, so as to permit Cornelius Hobson to retain new counsel. Cornelius Hobson shall, within sixty (60) days of the filing of this Decision & Order, ensure that new counsel files a notice of appearance, or, within such sixty (60) days, 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 (Bridget Farrell, Esq., AAG, New York State Department of Law, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271) in writing of his intention to proceed without counsel (pro se);
  4. If Cornelius Hobson fails to so appear by new counsel or notify the Clerk of the Court within such 60-day period, his claim will be deemed dismissed (22 NYCRR 206.15), and no further Order of this Court will be required.

August 5, 2003
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]The following were reviewed: Pollack & Holden, LLP's Order to Show Cause with Affirmation in Good Faith, Affirmation in Support and exhibits A-F; and Pollack & Holden, LLP's June 6, 2003 letter. Neither Cornelius Holden nor defendant submitted opposition papers.