New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SHABAZZ v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-031-025, Claim No. 102640, Motion No. M-66300


Claimant's motion for "reconsideration" after trial on the merits is denied.

Case Information

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):

Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
New York State Attorney General
BY: JAMES L. GELORMINI, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 6, 2003

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 5, were read on motion by Claimant for an order requesting "reconsideration" of a decision dismissing his claim:
1. Claimant's Notice of Motion, filed December 18, 2002;
2. Claimant's unsworn Statement, dated December 13, 2002;
3. Affirmation of James L. Gelormini, Esq., dated February 3, 2003, with attached exhibit;
  1. Claimant's unsworn Reply, filed February 13, 2003;
5. Filed documents: Amended Claim, Answer to Amended Claim, Decision of the Honorable Edgar C. NeMoyer filed December 5, 2002, Judgment of Dismissal dated December 12, 2002. The claim in this matter was tried before the Hon. Edgar C. NeMoyer and a Decision was filed on December 5, 2002, dismissing the claim. With this motion, Claimant Bobby Shabazz requests that I "reconsider" the decision and judgment dismissing his claim. Procedurally, I note that Claimant fails to identify the underlying authority for the relief he requests. Claimant apparently seeks a new trial of his claim. The section of the CPLR upon which Claimant could base such a motion is 4404 (b). Defendant concedes that Claimant's motion, to the extent it can be construed to invoke this section, is timely.

However, Claimant has failed to demonstrate his right to the requested relief. In his underlying claim, Mr. Shabazz alleged that, on April 7, 2000, at Groveland Correctional Facility, he was injured when the chair in which he was sitting collapsed. Claimant asserts that Defendant negligently maintained this chair, and that he was negligently denied prompt medical attention, resulting in the exacerbation of his injuries. Claimant sets forth two reasons that he believes Judge NeMoyer's decision should be "reconsidered." First, he alleges that the trial court improperly determined that Claimant failed to demonstrate notice to Defendant of the defective condition. Secondly, he argues that the Court failed to address the "negligent medical care" portion of his claim.

With respect to the notice issue, Claimant implies that, because the Defendant owned the chair and the facility in which it was located, they can be charged with notice of the defective condition, and that he is relieved of this portion of proof in his prima facie case. However, without notice of the alleged defect, either actual or constructive, Defendant cannot be cast in damages (Bethel v New York City Transit Auth. 92 NY2d 348; Babbie v Boisvert 281 AD2d 845; Prisco v City University of New York, Ct Cl, January 14, 2002 [Claim No. 99374], Read, P.J., UID # 2001-001-530).[1]

With regard to his "medical negligence" cause of action, Claimant has failed to indicate what evidence was adduced at trial, or how Judge NeMoyer was in error in any way relating to the trial. He merely alleges that the decision does not address this cause of action. While the decision clearly does not delve into this cause of action, it does dismiss the claim in its entirety and indicate that "there was no showing of negligence on the part of the defendant." Claimant has failed to demonstrate any error of the Court, let alone an error so egregious that a new trial should be ordered in the interests of justice.

Finally, as stated in 12-16 Arden Assocs. v Vasquez (168 Misc 2d 475, 478): "In reviewing decisions and orders of a Judge of coordinate jurisdiction, this court does not act as an appellate court. Mere errors of law are not sufficient for the court to vacate another Judge's determination. Such errors are correctable by way of appeal." An appeal of the dismissal of his claim is Claimant's best avenue of redress for the alleged improprieties at trial. As Judge Read noted in her scholarly decision in Harvey v State of New York (Ct Cl, June 1, 2000 [Claim No. 96808, Motion No. M-61057], Read, P.J., UID #2000-001-019), only a truly exceptional case would necessitate vacating the judgment of another judge after a full trial on the merits. This I decline to do.

Based upon the foregoing it is:

ORDERED, that Claimant's motion is denied.

May 6, 2003
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

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