New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ZORRILLA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-030-531, Claim No. 107131, Motion No. M-71151


Case Information

1 1.The caption has been amended to reflect the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended to reflect the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant’s attorney:
Defendant’s attorney:
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 27, 2006
White Plains

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers numbered 1 to 10 were read and considered on Claimant’s motion

for “a three judge review of a writ of quo warranto”:

1-4 Notice of Motion for a Three Judge Review of a Writ of Quo Warranto; Notice of Motion for a Three Judge Review of a Writ of Quo Warranto[2] (sic); Release and Redemption of Liability Application; Affidavit of Service by Certified Return Mail, all signed by Jose Zorrilla, Claimant

  1. Affirmation in Opposition by Mary B. Kavaney, Assistant Attorney General and attached exhibits
  1. Opposition in Reply to Corporate Syndic Opposition by Jose Zorrilla
7-10 Filed Papers: Claim, Answer, Zorrilla v State of New York, Claim No. 107131, Decision (Scuccimarra, J., filed November 23, 2005); Judgment entered November 30, 2005

This bailment claim was heard at a trial held on October 17, 2005, a decision was filed on November 23, 2005, and served with notice of entry upon Claimant on December 16, 2005, and a Judgment in Claimant’s favor was entered in the amount of $40.00, plus interest, totaling $51.12 on November 30, 2005. Claimant was also entitled to recovery of his filing fee in the amount of $30.00. Court of Claims Act §11-a(2).

The present motion appears to be either an attempt to set aside the trial decision in this matter, or to appeal or vacate the judgment: it is not clear from the papers. The lack of clarity is largely because Claimant, a pro se litigant, refers to federal laws and the laws of the uniform commercial code that has no relevance or pertinence here to make his arguments.[3]

A motion to set aside a trial decision or the judgment entered based upon that decision, and for a new trial, is made pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §4404(b), applicable in the Court of Claims since no provisions in the Court of Claims Act concern setting aside trial decisions or judgments. See Court of Claims Act §9(9); see also Clark v State of New York, 35 Misc 2d 577, 578 (Ct Cl 1962), mod, 20 AD2d 182 (4th Dept 1964), affd, 15 NY 2d 990 (1965). Such a motion must be made within fifteen (15) days of the decision, [Civil Practice Law and Rules §4405] although because the Court in a non-jury trial has the power to set aside its decision on its own initiative, the Court of Claims has not always been strict about this time constraint because of the discretionary nature of the review. See Moore v State of New York, 45 Misc 2d 1060, 1061 (Ct Cl 1965); cf. Gildea v State of New York, 133 Misc 2d 269, 270-271 (Ct Cl 1986).

The Court “. . . may make new findings of fact or conclusions of law, with or without taking additional testimony, render a new decision and direct entry of judgment, or it may order a new trial of a cause of action or separable issue.” Civil Practice Law and Rules §4404(b). The party making the motion should specify what aspect of the trial or decision he disagrees with, and what additional testimony or evidence he would proffer. Osann v Sears, Roebuck & Co., 205 Misc 33, 34 (Sup Ct, Westchester County 1953).

Accordingly, even assuming that the present motion is timely, the papers submitted do not establish that the Court misapplied any controlling principle of law or misunderstood the facts, or that any fraud or misrepresentation occurred. Similarly, the papers submitted do not contain additional facts - indeed the papers are a series of arguments asserting, variously, that Mr. Zorrilla is a holder in due course, or has somehow been wronged, linked by Latin phrases - nor do they present any rationale for the failure to present any additional information earlier. Finally, the Court is not convinced that the damages awarded Claimant are inadequate or do not provide reasonable compensation. Accordingly, treated as an application to set aside the decision and grant a new trial Claimant’s motion is denied.

If this is a motion to vacate the judgment pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §5015, [see Gildea v State of New York, supra], Claimant has not raised any of the enumerated grounds and the motion is therefore denied. Moreover, given that it was Claimant who prevailed, it is not clear how he needs to be “relieved” from the terms of the judgment.

Appeals from judgments in the Court of Claims are governed by Court of Claims Act §§24 through 26, as well as the applicable provisions of Article 55 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

In any event, what relief is requested here is largely guesswork, and even the most generous interpretation of the papers submitted does not make them comprehensible.

Claimant’s motion [M-71151] is in all respects denied.

April 27, 2006
White Plains, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[2]. Two documents are given the same title but contain different matters.
[3]. The Defendant has largely opposed the motion by treating it as one to reargue or renew pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §2221. That provision would seem to only be applicable to motion decisions not trial decisions, although the considerations are similar. A reargument motion, addressed to the discretion of the court, gives a party an opportunity to establish that the court overlooked or misapprehended the relevant facts, or misapplied a controlling principle of law. A renewal motion asks the Court to consider new facts not previously offered that would change the earlier determination, or a change in the law that would change the prior determination. Civil Practice Law and Rules §2221(e). With respect to new facts, however, the motion should contain “reasonable justification for the failure to present such facts on the prior motion.” Civil Practice Law and Rules §2221(e)(3).