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
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
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.