New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DOUVARTIDIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK , #2004-030-568, Claim No. 104450, Motion No. M-68751


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2004-030-568
Claimant(s):
FOTIOS DOUVARTIDIS
Claimant short name:
DOUVARTIDIS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104450
Motion number(s):
M-68751
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney:
ELAN WURTZEL, P.C
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
LUBINSKY & KESSLER OF COUNSELBY: JUDITH L. LUBINSKY, ESQ.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 24, 2004
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 6, were read and considered on Claimant's motion


M-68751 for a stay of all proceedings:

1,2 Notice of Motion; Affirmation in Support by Jomarie Licata, Counsel for Claimant and attached Exhibit

  1. Affidavit of Judith L. Lubinsky, Counsel for Defendant
  1. Reply Affirmation by Benedict Gullo
5,6 Filed papers: Claim, Answer

After carefully considering the papers submitted and the applicable law the motion is disposed of as follows:

Civil Practice Law and Rules §2201, applicable in the Court of Claims pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 9(9), provides that ". . .[e]xcept where otherwise prescribed by law, the court in which an action is pending may grant a stay of proceedings in a proper case, upon such terms as may be just." The party seeking the stay must show "good cause."

Fotios Douvartidis, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim Number 104450 that the State of New York was negligent and failed to provide a safe work place in violation of Labor Law §§200, 240, and 241(6), when he was injured on or about April 21, 2000 while working as a laborer at a construction site at the State University of New York College at Purchase. Pursuant to a preliminary conference order "So Ordered" by the Court on March 1, 2004, the Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness was to have been filed after completion of consent discovery on or before October 30, 2004.

Claimant now requests a stay of all proceedings herein including discovery, until resolution of felony charges brought against him in Nassau County on or about April 21, 2004. [Exhibit A, Affirmation in Support by Jomarie Licata]. According to a press release from the Nassau County District Attorney's Office, Claimant is charged with two counts of Perjury in the First Degree, and Workers Compensation Fraud, stemming from his collection of workers compensation benefits based upon the work-related injury he allegedly suffered in April, 2000, that is the subject of this Claim. [Id].

Benedict Gullo, the attorney representing Claimant on the criminal matter, has submitted a Reply Affirmation seconding the request, and confirming that it is on his advice that the request for a stay of discovery has been submitted. [Reply Affirmation by Benedict Gullo, Page 1]. He also notes that the matter was "scheduled for July 28, 2004", but does not specify the stage of the criminal proceedings. [Ibid, Page 2].

Counsel of record herein suggests that once the criminal matter is resolved, the stay could be lifted and discovery would recommence on thirty (30) days notice.

The Defendant, in turn, suggests that the stay be imposed for a fixed period of time, and that the Claimant be required to reapply for a further stay based upon affidavits by someone who knows the status of the criminal matter.

While the Court agrees that the Claimant has established good cause for the imposition of a stay of all proceedings in this Claim, the Court also finds that issuance of such an indefinite stay as the Claimant suggests would not be just given the date of accrual of this Claim. Accordingly, Claimant's motion number M-68751 for a stay of all proceedings is hereby granted in part, and it is hereby

ORDERED, that all proceedings in this claim are stayed effective immediately, until December 1, 2004, and it is further

ORDERED, that Counsel notify this Court in writing within five (5) days of any change of status in this matter and, in any event upon completion of the stay, the parties are directed to report to the Court, in writing, the status of all proceedings, and it is further

ORDERED, that should Counsel for the Claimant seek an extension of the stay such application should be made by notice of motion supported by the appropriate affidavits on or before December 1, 2004.


August 24, 2004
White Plains, New York

HON. THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Judge of the Court of Claims