New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CELIFIE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-016-044, Claim No. 111797, Motion No. M-71218


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):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
Aliazzo, McCloskey & Gonzalez, LLPBy: Frank Gonzalez, Esq.
Defendant’s attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Ellen Matowik, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 6, 2006
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant moves to dismiss the claim of Georgyna J. Celifie, in which Ms. Celifie alleges that she tripped and fell on an interior staircase in the Kings County Court House when a step tilted forward as she was walking down. Defendant maintains that it is not responsible for the site of the accident. The provision of “suitable and sufficient” judicial facilities for the State’s major trial courts is essentially a local function provided by cities and counties. See 1996 McKinney’s Session Laws p. 2618 for ch. 686. On April 1, 1998, one aspect of that responsibility was transferred to the State – the cleaning of the interiors of such court facilities. See Judiciary Law §39-b.2.

Judiciary Law §39-b.1(b) defines the term “cleaning of court facilities” as:
those services and activities that are necessary to insure that the interior of each court facility is and remains a clean and healthful environment in which to transact the business of the unified court system. These services and activities include, but are not limited to: removal of trash and debris; maintenance of appropriate standards of hygiene; painting; pest control; and replacement of consumable items such as light bulbs, soap, toilet paper and paper towelling. They also shall include the making of minor repairs in accordance with rules of the chief judge.

22 NYCRR §34.2(b)(3) defines “minor repairs” as:

such repairs as are required to replace a part or put together what is torn or broken, or to restore a surface or finish, where such repairs will preserve and/or restore a court facility to full functionality; and shall include only . . . painting, carpeting, and other resurfacing of, or finish work related to, the interiors of spaces used by the Unified Court System . . .

Essentially, the parties disagree as to whether the alleged defective stair resulted from defendant’s failure to provide cleaning services, including minor repairs, as such terms are defined. Neither party has submitted, for example, an expert affidavit or the affidavit of an employee, and it cannot be determined on the papers submitted, whether the alleged dangerous condition resulted from a failure of the State to comply with Judiciary Law §39-b.

For the foregoing reasons, having reviewed the parties’ submissions[1], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-71218 be denied.

June 6, 2006
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]The following were reviewed: defendant’s notice of motion with affirmation in support and exhibits A through D; claimant’s affirmation in opposition; and defendant’s affirmation in reply.