New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JONES v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-028-597, Claim No. 107990 and 108887, Motion Nos. M-70597, M-70968


Synopsis


Summary judgment is inappropriate where facts giving rise to the claim are not presented clearly and where resolution of the claim will depend on an assessment of Claimant’s credibility.


Case Information

UID:
2006-028-597
Claimant(s):
THOMAS JONES
Claimant short name:
JONES
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107990 and 108887
Motion number(s):
M-70597, M-70968
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant’s attorney:
THOMAS JONES, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPIPTZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: G. Lawrence Dillon, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
December 11, 2006
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Motion No. M-70597


The following papers were read on Claimant’s motion which appears to be a motion for summary judgment in his favor:[1]

1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of Thomas Jones, pro se, with annexed Exhibits

2. Affidavit in Opposition of G. Lawrence Dillon, AAG, with annexed Exhibits


3. Affidavit (incorrectly captioned “Affirmation”) in Opposition to Defendant’s Opposition of Thomas Jones, pro se


Motion No. M-70968


The following papers were read on Claimant’s motion which appears to be a second motion for summary judgment in his favor:[2]


1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of Thomas Jones, pro se


2. Letter of G. Lawrence Dillon, AAG


3. “Application of Article” of Thomas Jones, pro se


Filed papers: Claims; Answers

Claim No. 107990, which was filed on July 9, 2003, seeks money damages in compensation for alleged inadequate medical care that Claimant received while housed at Mid-State Correctional Facility. Claimant alleges that he is entitled to recover on a “simple negligence theory” as well as for violation of rights guaranteed by the New York State Constitution.

In Motion No. M-70597, Claimant apparently seeks summary judgment in his favor (see footnote 1). In support of his motion, Claimant provides the name of the doctor who allegedly failed to provide adequate treatment and indicates that the claim involved “bruising of the tendon” of his right knee. He also references the period from June 2, 2002 to June 15, 2002, apparently the dates of the treatment about which he is complaining. A second submission by Claimant, submitted in reply to Defendant’s opposition, includes documents that appear to relate to another action commenced by Claimant against the City of New York in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, but it is not clear what relation that action might have to the instant claim.

In Motion No. M-70968, Claimant again apparently seeks summary judgment in his favor (see footnote 2). The supporting affidavit refers to Claimant’s alleged need for medication related to the injury to his right knee. A second submission by Claimant, captioned “Application of Article” provides no more factual information about the claim.

The rule regarding motions for summary judgment is well-settled. “The proponent of a summary judgment motion must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issues of fact from the case” (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853 [1985]), and such showing must be made “by producing evidentiary proof in admissible form” (Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557, 562 [1980]). In the absence of admissible evidence sufficient to preclude any material issue of fact, summary judgment is unavailable, without regard to the sufficiency of the opposing papers (Ayotte v Gervasio, 81 NY2d 1062, 1063 [1993]; Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320, 324 [1986]). The facts pleaded in the claim must be taken as true and are accorded every favorable inference; however, allegations consisting of bare legal conclusions as well as factual claims flatly contradicted by documentary evidence are not entitled to any such consideration (Maas v Cornell University, 94 NY2d 87, 91 [1999]).

To warrant summary judgment, “there must be only one conclusion that can be drawn from the undisputed facts” (Sanchez v State of New York, 99 NY2d 247, 254 [2002]). Consequently, summary judgment is not frequently granted in negligence cases, because such actions typically involve numerous factual questions that must be resolved at trial (Pencola v Stefanich, 244 AD2d 999 [4th Dept 1997]; Rubin v Reality Fashions, 229 AD2d 1026 [4th Dept 1996])). In addition, questions of credibility must normally be resolved at trial by the finder of fact (Orloski v McCarthy, 274 AD2d 633, 635 [3d Dept 2000]).

In the instant motion, the only evidence presented in support of the motion is Claimant’s own written account of events and his assertion of a number of legal conclusions that, in his view, the Court must reach. The precise facts on which Claimant will rely are not cogently stated, and even if they were set forth in detail, it would require an assessment of credibility to determine whether they could be accepted as true. This action is not appropriate for resolution by way of a motion for summary judgment.

Claimant’s motions are DENIED.


December 11, 2006
Albany, New York

HON. RICHARD E. SISE
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]. The Notice of Motion states that Claimant is seeking an order “of Notice of Late claim,” but his affidavit does not address any of the factors listed in Court of Claims Act §10(6) and asks for an award of damages. In addition, annexed to Claimant’s affidavit is a document (Exhibit A) entitled “Order Judgment Motion for Damages,” which appears to be a proposed order awarding damages to Claimant.
[2]. The Notice of Motion for Motion No. M-70968 states that Claimant is seeking “Judgment for the Recovery of Money Damages”.