New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CRAGGAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-017, Claim No. 105870, Motion No. M-67677


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:
James Craggan, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney General
By: Kate H. Nepveu, Assistant Attorney General,Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 19, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This action for false imprisonment/wrongful confinement arose at Clinton Correctional Facility in December 2001 when, it is alleged, claimant was placed in keeplock in retaliation for having filed a complaint. In a Decision and Order issued June 17, 2003, this Court denied claimant's motion for summary judgment (Motion No. M-66157), holding that there was a material question of fact and law as to whether claimant's confinement was privileged (see, Broughton v State of New York, 37 NY2d 451, 456 [1975], cert denied sub nom Schanbarger v Kellogg, 423 US 929).

In the instant motion, claimant seeks reargument of his earlier motion, asserting once again certain statements made by a Nurse Administrator "overwhelmingly" meet the standard for summary judgment (Craggan memorandum of law, p 1). In addition, claimant asserts that he is entitled to reargument because his prior motion was allegedly "mishandled" by the Court because he was not allowed to be present in the courtroom for the hearing on the motion (id., p 2).

Pursuant to Rule 206.9(c) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims (22 NYCRR §206.9[c]), all motions are deemed submitted as of their return date "[u]nless oral argument has been requested by a party and permitted by the court" (emphasis supplied). Although claimant requested oral argument of Motion No. M-66157, the Court did not grant that request and, consequently, the motion was properly decided on the written submissions.

With respect to claimant's motion to reargue the issues decided in his prior motion, a motion to reargue must be based upon "matters of fact or law allegedly overlooked or misapprehended by the court in determining the prior motion, but [it] shall not include any matters of fact not offered on the prior motion" (CPLR 2221[d][2]). Its purpose is not to serve as "a vehicle to permit the unsuccessful party to argue once again the very questions previously decided" (Foley v Roche, 68 AD2d 558, 567 [1st Dept 1979], lv denied 56 NY2d 507, see also Fosdick v Town of Hempstead, 126 NY 651 [1891]; Pahl Equip. Corp. v Kassis, 182 AD2d 22 [1st Dept 1992];), nor may a party use this device to assert a new issue, particularly where the issue is contrary to that party's earlier position (Mehta v Mehta, 196 AD2d 841, 842 [2d Dept 1993]). A motion to reargue a prior motion in the trial court must be commenced within 30 days after service of the order sought to be reargued, with notice of entry (CPLR 2221[d][3]).

As indicated above, the Decision and Order which claimant seeks to reargue was filed on June 17, 2003 and, according to defense counsel, served with notice of entry on June 27, 2003 (Nepveu affirmation, ¶3, Exhibit A). Consequently, claimant's motion is untimely. Even if the Court were to exercise its discretion to consider the instant motion on its merits, in light of the fact that claimant may not have been able to promptly move to reargue (see, Craggan reply affidavit, Point I, ¶¶2-6), claimant has failed to establish that material facts were overlooked or that the law was misapplied in reaching the decision on the prior motion. The critical question of whether claimant's confinement was privileged remains undecided and can only be properly determined at trial, where the Court may consider both the authorities cited by claimant (id., Point II. ¶4) and the testimony of claimant and other witnesses to the events.

Claimant's motion is denied.

March 19, 2004
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read on claimant's motion to reargue a prior order of this Court:
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit/Memorandum of Law of James Craggan, pro se

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Kate H. Nepveu, Esq., AAG, with annexed Exhibits

3. Reply Affidavit of James Craggan, pro se

Filed papers: Claim; Answer