New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MARTINEZ v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-039-012, Claim No. 107491, Motion No. M-72727


Synopsis


Affidavit of correctional facility employee, which included hearsay statements and information derived from affiant’s own knowledge and observations, constitutes sufficient proof to establish a triable issue of fact regarding the proximate cause of claimant’s fall when he allegedly stepped into a hole located on the floor of the correctional facility’s laundry shop.

Case Information

UID:
2007-039-012
Claimant(s):
SHAWN MARTINEZ
Claimant short name:
MARTINEZ
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107491
Motion number(s):
M-72727
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JAMES H. FERREIRA
Claimant’s attorney:
Shawn Martinez, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Frederick H. McGown, IIIAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 24, 2007
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant seeks damages for injuries allegedly sustained when he stepped into a hole located on the floor of the laundry shop at Clinton Correctional Facility where he was incarcerated at the time. Following joinder of issue, claimant brought the instant motion for an order granting summary judgment and awarding the relief requested in the claim. Defendant opposes the motion.

“[T]o defeat a motion for summary judgment the opposing party must ‘show facts sufficient to require a trial of any issue of fact’ ” (Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557, 562 [1980], quoting Friends of Animals v Associated Fur Mfrs., 46 NY2d 1065, 1067-1068 [1979]). “Summary judgment should not be granted where there is any doubt as to the existence of a factual issue or where the existence of a factual issue is arguable” (Forrest v Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 315 [2004]). Moreover, “[i]n reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court accepts as true the evidence presented by the nonmoving party, and must deny the motion if there is ‘even arguably any doubt as to the existence of a triable issue’” (Fleming v Graham, 34 AD3d 525, 526 [2006], quoting Baker v Briarcliff School Dist., 205 AD2d 652, 653 [1994]).

Here, a triable issue of fact exists regarding the proximate cause of claimant’s fall. In opposition to the motion, defendant offers the affidavit of Donald Kramer, head supervisor of the laundry shop at Clinton Correctional Facility. Kramer states that, prior to the alleged incident, a table had been placed over the hole and that, on the day of the alleged incident, the table had been “mysteriously moved about a foot, exposing the hole.” Kramer further states that he observed claimant “getting up off the ground approximately 12 feet from the table” used to cover the hole, and that he was subsequently informed by two inmates that claimant had actually been injured during a confrontation with another inmate. “ ‘Although hearsay evidence may be considered in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, it is insufficient to bar summary judgment if it is the only evidence submitted’ ” (Rodriguez v Sixth President, 4 AD3d 406, 407 [2004], quoting Arnold v New York City Hous. Auth., 296 AD2d 355, 356 [2002]). Since, in addition to the inmates’ hearsay statements, Kramer’s affidavit also contains information derived from his own knowledge and observations regarding the placement of the table over the hole and the location of claimant following the alleged incident, the Court finds that defendant offered sufficient proof to establish a triable issue of fact regarding the proximate cause of claimant’s fall.

Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that M-72727 is denied.


April 24, 2007
Albany, New York

HON. JAMES H. FERREIRA
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of Motion for Summary Judgment filed December 26, 2006;
  2. Affidavit in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment sworn to December 14, 2006 with exhibits;
  3. Affirmation in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment filed January 19, 2007 with exhibit; and
  4. Claimant’s Rebuttal to Defendant’s Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment filed February 5, 2007 with exhibits.