New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MUHAMMAD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-028-518, Claim No. 106070, Motion No. M-66187


Synopsis


Claimant's application pursuant to CPLR 5015 is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2003-028-518
Claimant(s):
HASINA MUHAMMAD
Claimant short name:
MUHAMMAD
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106070
Motion number(s):
M-66187
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant's attorney:
HASINA MUHAMMAD, pro se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Kathleen M. Resnick, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 7, 2003
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read on the Claimant's Order to Show Cause seeking the vacatur of this Court's prior dismissal order made upon Defendant's Summary Judgment motion.
1. Order to Show Cause filed December 23, 2002 with Supporting Affidavit of Hasina Muhammad (Muhammad Affidavit);

2. Affirmation in opposition of Assistant Attorney General Kathleen M. Resnick, filed January 14, 2003 (Resnick Affirmation) with annexed Exhibits A-D.

3. Reply Papers: NONE.

Filed Papers: Claim, filed May 16, 2002; Answer, filed June 18, 2002.

Decision and Order, Sise, J. filed November 13, 2002.

The underlying Claim, which alleges the State Education Department (SED) violated Claimant Hasina Muhammad's (Claimant) civil rights and constitutional rights when SED denied her request to change her name from Louise P. Ryan to Hasina Muhammad on a High School Equivalency Diploma issued in 1976[1], was dismissed by the Court upon Defendant's motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Thereafter, the Court signed Claimant's timely filed Order to Show Cause seeking an order to vacate the judgment pursuant to CPLR 5015(a)(1) based upon Claimant's alleged failure to receive the moving papers. Defendant has opposed the application by asserting Claimant has not offered a reasonable excuse for her default (Resnick Affirmation ¶ 5), Claimant has failed to submit an affidavit of merit (Resnick Affirmation ¶ 10) and regardless of the foregoing, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction of the Claim (Resnick Affirmation ¶ 11).

CPLR 5015 (a) provides that a party may be relieved from a judgment on the ground of, among others, "excusable default" (CPLR 5015 [a] [1]). A Claimant seeking to vacate a default under this provision must demonstrate a reasonable excuse for its default in appearing on the motion and a meritorious cause of action (see e.g. Cippitelli v Town of Niskayuna, 277 AD2d 540, 541).

There is no dispute that Claimant moved promptly to cure her default and that she has tendered an excuse for that default. However, assuming arguendo Claimant's stated reason for her default is a reasonable excuse, Claimant inexplicably has failed to make any offer to establish the meritoriousness of her underlying Claim (cf. Matter of Twin Towers Associates, Ltd. Partnership of Albany v Board of Assessors of City of Albany, 261 AD2d 705; see also, Watkins v Clark, 260 AD2d 843). That failure alone compels the denial of the instant application. Furthermore, denial of the instant application is buttressed by the Court's earlier determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Claim (see e.g. Amodeo v State of New York, 257 AD2d 748 [evidence submitted would not have resulted in a different outcome]).

Accordingly, Claimant's motion is denied.


March 7, 2003
Albany, New York

HON. RICHARD E. SISE
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] A copy of the High School Equivalency Diploma appended to the Claim indicates it was issued "in the 1976 series" and bears no other date.