New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WILLIAMS v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-039-051, Claim No. 106679, Motion No. M-72916


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2007-039-051
Claimant(s):
DeANDRE WILLIAMS
Claimant short name:
WILLIAMS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
STATE OF NEW YORK1 1.The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper Defendant.
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106679
Motion number(s):
M-72916
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JAMES H. FERREIRA
Claimant’s attorney:
DeAndre Williams, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Paul F. CaginoAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
January 9, 2008
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant DeAndre Williams filed the instant claim with the Court on September 23, 2002 alleging, in relevant part, that on June 10, 2002 various items of his personal property were lost or destroyed by defendant during his transfer from Clinton Correctional Facility to Upstate Correctional Facility. On December 27, 2002 claimant filed another claim (# 107127 and hereinafter referred to as claim #2) with the Court alleging, in relevant part, that on June 16, 2002 various items of his personal property were lost or destroyed by defendant during his transfer from Clinton Correctional Facility to Upstate Correctional Facility (see Williams v State of New York, Ct Cl, DeBow, J., September 18, 2006, Claim No. 107127, UID No. 2006-038-001). On January 13, 2006, the day that trial was scheduled to commence with respect to claim #1, the Court (Sise, P. J.) ordered that the two claims be joined and recessed the trial, without date, with a request that the Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims reschedule the trial. Thereafter, a separate trial was held with respect to claim #2 and the Court (DeBow, J.) found in favor of defendant and dismissed the claim (id.).

Defendant now moves the Court for an order pursuant to CPLR 3025 (b) granting leave to amend its answer to include the affirmative defenses of collateral estoppel and res judicata and, upon granting leave, precluding claimant from litigating the instant claim. Claimant does not oppose the motion.

The Court concludes in the first instance that defendant shall be permitted to amend its answer to assert the defense of res judicata. It is well settled that “‘[p]rovided that there is no prejudice to the nonmoving party and the amendment is not plainly lacking in merit, leave to amend pleadings under CPLR 3025 (b) should be freely granted’” (United States Fid. & Guar. Co. v Delmar Dev. Partners, LLC, 22 AD3d 1017, 1019 [2005], quoting Smith v Haggerty, 16 AD3d 967, 967-968 [2005]; see also Matter of Rouson, 32 AD3d 956, 958 [2006]). A review of the Court’s file reveals that claim #2 was not served upon defendant and filed with the Court until after defendant had served and filed its answer to the instant claim. Moreover, defendant sought the instant relief within a reasonable amount of time following the Court’s (DeBow, J.) decision with respect to claim #2, and claimant does not oppose the motion. There being no proof before the Court that claimant will be prejudiced by the proposed amendment and, as discussed below, since the Court cannot say that the defense of res judicata is plainly lacking in merit, defendant shall be permitted to amend its answer.

The Court further concludes that defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim must be granted. “This State has adopted the transactional analysis approach in deciding res judicata issues” (O’Brien v City of Syracuse, 54 NY2d 353, 357 [1981]). “Under this address, once a claim is brought to a final conclusion, all other claims arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions are barred, even if based upon different theories or if seeking a different remedy” (id.; see also Fitzgerald v Hudson Natl. Golf Club, 35 AD3d 533 [2006]).

Following a review of the Court’s (DeBow, J.) determination with respect to claim #2 (see Williams v State of New York, supra) and the allegations contained within the instant claim, the Court concludes that claimant “is barred from maintaining the present [claim], which is based on claims that were litigated or could have been litigated” during the trial of claim #2 (Fitzgerald v Hudson Natl. Golf Club, supra). Both claims relate to the alleged loss of or damage to personal property that occurred when claimant was transferred from Clinton Correctional Facility to Upstate Correctional Facility during June 2002. To the extent that claimant did not seek relief during the trial of claim #2 for the loss of or damage to his personal property as alleged in claim #1, he certainly could have done so.

Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED that M-72916 is granted; and it is further

ORDERED that defendant’s answer is amended, nunc pro tunc, in accordance with the Court’s foregoing decision; and it is further

ORDERED that the claim is dismissed in its entirety.


January 9, 2008
Albany, New York

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


Papers Considered
:

  1. Notice of Motion dated February 6, 2007; and
  2. Affirmation in Support of Motion to Amend Answer and Motion to Dismiss by Paul F. Cagino, AAG dated February 6, 2007 with exhibits.