New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PETTUS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-044-558, Claim No. 112504, Motion No. M-73405


Synopsis


Inmate claimant’s motion for "an order to (settle)" his claim is denied, as the Court has no authority to order a claim settled. Further, the Court will not exercise its discretion to conduct a settlement conference, as defendant has clearly indicated its unwillingness to discuss settlement

Case Information

UID:
2007-044-558
Claimant(s):
JAMES PETTUS
Claimant short name:
PETTUS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112504
Motion number(s):
M-73405
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CATHERINE C. SCHAEWE
Claimant’s attorney:
JAMES PETTUS, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Roberto Barbosa, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 10, 2007
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

.
Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, filed this claim alleging that unknown correction officers used excessive force against him during a strip search conducted on April 8, 2005, inflicting personal injuries. Defendant answered, denying the allegations and asserting various affirmative defenses. The Court granted claimant’s previous motion in this claim to compel production of a written Investigative Report prepared by the Office of the Inspector General (Motion No. M-72488) and denied his previous motion to compel defendant to produce photographs of five individual correction officers.[1] Claimant now moves for “an order to (settle)” this claim. Defendant opposes the motion. The Court has no authority to order the parties to settle this claim, and will therefore treat claimant’s motion as requesting a settlement conference. As this claimant has previously been informed in another claim (see Pettus v State of New York, Ct Cl, July 27, 2006, Sise, P.J., Claim No. 109717, Motion No. M-71735, [UID # 2006-028-579]),[2] preliminary conferences are not mandated in prisoner pro se claims. Further, other conferences, including a settlement conference, may be scheduled “as the [C]ourt may deem helpful or necessary” (Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims [22 NYCRR] § 206.10 [e]). The Court declines to direct a conference in this instance (id.). In its opposition papers, defendant takes a no-liability stance and further indicates its unwillingness to discuss settlement. Although claimant is free to contact defendant directly to initiate settlement discussions, “[i]t is unnecessary and arguably unwise for the Court, the ultimate trier of fact, to be involved in such matters” (Forshey v State of New York, Ct Cl, Nov. 10, 2003, Minarik, J., Claim No. 105817, Motion Nos. M-66810, M-66880, Cross Motion No. CM-66887 [UID # 2003-031-083]).

Accordingly, claimant’s Motion No. M-73405, requesting that the Court order the claim settled, is denied in its entirety.

July 10, 2007
Binghamton, New York

HON. CATHERINE C. SCHAEWE
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read on claimant’s motion:

1) Notice of Motion filed on May 14, 2007; Affidavit/Affirmation of James Pettus sworn to on May 7, 2007, and attached exhibits.


2) Affirmation in Opposition of Roberto Barbosa, AAG, dated June 26, 2007.


Filed papers: Claim filed on July 6, 2006; Verified Answer filed on July 21, 2006.

[1]. The Court adjourned that motion to provide claimant an opportunity to submit an additional supporting affidavit (Pettus v State of New York, Ct Cl, Mar. 21, 2007, Schaewe, J., Claim No. 112504, Motion No. M-72699). Claimant’s failure to submit that affidavit has resulted in denial of his motion to compel production of photographs without further order of this Court (id.).
[2]. Claim No. 109717 was eventually dismissed because claimant had improperly served defendant by ordinary mail (Pettus v State of New York, Ct Cl, Feb. 27, 2007, Schaewe, J., Claim No. 109717, Motion Nos. M-72867, M-72874 [UID # 2007-044-512]).