3-5 Filed Papers: Claim, Answer, Decision and Order granting prior application
for Stay, Douvartidis v State of New York, Claim No. 104450, Motion No. M-68751,
UID #2004-030-568 (Scuccimarra, J., August 26, 2004).
No Opposition Filed
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. Claimant's employer at the
site was Positive Electrical Associates, Inc. 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.
The Court granted Claimant a prior stay of all proceedings herein including
discovery until December 1, 2004, in a Decision and Order filed August 26,
2004. [Affirmation in Support, Exhibit A]. Claimant was then under indictment
in Nassau County, charged with First Degree Perjury 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. Pursuant to that earlier Decision and Order, Claimant now makes
another motion seeking an additional stay pending the resolution of the criminal
In support of the present application for an extension of the stay, Claimant
has attached an Affirmation from Benedict S. Gullo, Jr., the attorney
representing Claimant on the criminal matter. [Affirmation in Support, Exhibit
B]. He indicates that the case is pending under Nassau County Docket Number
2004NA00754, that since the prior stay Claimant was involved in an auto accident
requiring "multiple surgeries . . . [and that] it is very likely that he will
require several months to recuperate before he can partake in the preliminary
proceedings and criminal conference that is now scheduled for January 12, 2005 .
. . " [Ibid, ¶4]. Mr. Gullo notes that it is his intent to seek
adjournment of the criminal proceedings in order to facilitate Claimant's
Counsel of record herein joins in Mr. Gullo's suggestion that the stay could be
lifted and discovery would recommence on thirty (30) days notice once the
criminal matter is resolved.
The Defendant has not submitted any opposition.
While the Court agrees that the Claimant has established good cause for the
imposition of a continued stay, the Court also finds that issuance of such an
indefinite stay as the Claimant suggests would not be just given the original
date of accrual, and the uncertainty as to the time frame for the criminal
Accordingly, Claimant's motion number M-69504 for a continued 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 September 1, 2005, 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 Claimant seek further extension of the stay
such application should be made by notice of motion supported by appropriate
affidavits on or before September 1, 2005.