New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MALDONADO v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-028-525, Claim No. 108553, Motion No. M-69485


Claimant's counsel's motion to withdraw as attorney of record is granted.

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:
BY: G. Lawrence Dillon, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 29, 2005

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read on motion by claimant's counsel (M - 69485) for an order permitting him to be relieved as counsel:
1) Order to Show Cause and Supporting Affirmation of Thomas R. Monks, Esq. (Monks Affirmation), filed December 15, 2004.

2) Supplemental Affirmation of Thomas R. Monks, Esq. (Monks Supp Affirmation), filed December 15, 2004

3) Proof of Service upon the Claimant as directed in the Order to Show Cause, dated December 13, 2004.

4) Letter of Angel Maldonado (Maldonado Letter) received December 20, 2004.

5) Opposition papers: None

By Order to Show Cause filed on December 15, 2004 and made returnable on January 12, 2005, Claimant's attorney moved for an order granting leave to withdraw as counsel and granting such other relief as the court deems proper. Claimant has responded to the motion and objects to the discharge of counsel. Defendant takes no position on the application for permission to withdraw.

It is well established that an attorney may not unilaterally withdraw from representation upon request but must obtain court approval (CPLR 321 [b][2]; Matter of Jamieko A., 193 AD2d 409, 410) upon a showing of good and sufficient cause (see Matter of Dunn, 205 NY 398, 403; Lake v M.P.C. Trucking, 279 AD2d 813) and upon reasonable notice to the client (CPLR 321 [b][2]).

The element of good and sufficient cause exists when the relationship between the attorney and client has deteriorated to the point where further representation is inappropriate (Ashker v International Bus. Machs. Corp., 201 AD2d 765, see Valente v Seiden, 244 AD2d 799).

Claimant's attorney alleges in his supplemental affirmation in support that Claimant's repeated failure to apprise counsel of his change of address and current phone number(s) and Claimant's failure to remain in contact with counsel has seriously strained the attorney client relationship (Monks Supp Affirmation). Counsel also alleges that Claimant's recent incarceration has further deteriorated the relationship because of the difficulty in attempting to locate and contact Claimant (Monks Supp Affirmation). Counsel contends that Claimant was previously advised that counsel would seek to withdraw if Claimant were to become incarcerated again because of the difficulties in communication and Claimant's failure to respond to counsel's repeated requests for current information (Monks Affirmation). Counsel further contends that because he is a sole practitioner, the lack of communication and difficulty in locating Claimant has adversely impacted counsel's practice and prevented counsel from zealously representing Claimant (Monks Supp Affirmation). Claimant objects to the discharge of counsel alleging that he has made himself readily accessible to counsel since the commencement of the instant claim (Maldonado Letter). Claimant's allegations of counsel's discrimination against Claimant because of his recent incarceration are unpersuasive (Maldonado Letter). Good and sufficient cause for withdrawal exists when a client fails to respond to counsel's communication (Bok v Werner, 9 AD3d 318). Here, it is abundantly evident that the attorney client relationship has become so strained that Counsel will be prevented from effectively representing claimant. Thus, Counsel has made the requisite showing and the motion is granted.

Accordingly, Claimant's counsel's motion (M-69485) to withdraw as attorney of record is granted.

It is ORDERED, that Thomas R. Monks, Esq. is authorized to withdraw as counsel of record in this matter; and it is further

ORDERED, that within 30 days of the filing date of this Decision and Order, the attorney is directed to file an affidavit with the Chief Clerk's office indicating that service of a copy of this Decision and Order was made upon Claimant by certified mail, return receipt requested and by ordinary mail to Claimant's last known address and that the attorney had turned over the complete file to Claimant; and it is further

ORDERED, that all proceedings are stayed for sixty (60) days in which time Claimant shall secure a new representative, who shall file a Notice of Appearance, or advise the court that he will proceed Pro Se.

March 29, 2005
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims