New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

Williams v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-018-609, Claim Nos. 109440, 113373, Motion No. M-73465


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2008-018-609
Claimant(s):
LAURA A. WILLIAMS, as Executrix of the Estate of RUSSELL S. WILLIAMS
Claimant short name:
Williams
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
109440, 113373
Motion number(s):
M-73465
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
BOTTAR LEONE, PLLCBy: Lauren H. Seiter, Esquire
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Maureen A. MacPherson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
February 5, 2008
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Before addressing the motion at hand, a synopsis of the history is necessary in order to

provide necessary context.

A claim was filed in this action on June 7, 2004 (Claim No. 109440), seeking specified damages for the alleged medical malpractice of the defendant. Defendant interposed an answer and discovery in the action was completed. A note of issue was filed on June 26, 2006, and a trial date scheduled. On April 5, 2005, Russell S. Williams died, and on August 31, 2006, Letters Testamentary were issued by Surrogate’s Court to the Claimant, Laura A. Williams. Claimant’s expert attributed the cause of Mr. Williams’ death to Defendant’s actions and Claimant sought, by a motion (Motion No. M-72442), permission to amend the claim to add a wrongful death cause of action. Defendant brought a cross-motion (Cross-Motion No. CM-72525), seeking to strike the note of issue and certificate of readiness if permission was granted to Claimant to amend the claim because additional discovery on the wrongful death cause of action was necessary. After the motions were filed, Claimant served a notice of intention asserting a cause of action for wrongful death upon the Assistant Attorney General. Thereafter, this Court issued a Decision and Order on the motion and cross-motion dated February 22, 2007, granting the motion to amend the claim and the cross-motion to strike the note of issue. Before the Decision and Order was disseminated to the parties, Claimant, on February 26, 2007, filed a second claim (Claim No. 113373) for the wrongful death cause of action.

On March 22, 2007, the Court of Appeals decided Kolnacki v State of New York, 8 NY3d 277 [2007], in which that Court held that the failure to set forth the total sum claimed as required by Court of Claims Act § 11(b) was a jurisdictional defect requiring dismissal of the claim.
Thereafter, Claimant brought the current motion seeking the following relief:

Defendant does not oppose the motion.

While this motion has been pending, Court of Claims Act § 11(b) was amended (L 2007, ch 606) to eliminate the requirement that a “total sum” be set forth in a personal injury, medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice, or wrongful death action pending on the effective date of the amendment.

Here, both claims arise out of the alleged negligence of the defendant in providing

medical care and treatment to the decedent at State University of New York Upstate Medical University Hospital, and seek damages for his personal injuries and wrongful death. Pursuant to the terms of the amendment to Court of Claims Act § 11(b) the total sum demanded no longer needs to be set forth in this type of claim.

Accordingly, based upon the amendment to Court of Claims Act § 11(b) and the Claimant’s filing of a claim (Claim No. 113373) asserting a wrongful death cause of action, the Court shall modify its prior Decision and Order dated February 22, 2007, as follows:


Claimant’s other requests for relief are denied.



February 5, 2008
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:


Notice of Motion.......................................................................................1


Affirmation of Lauren H. Seiter, Esquire, in support, with exhibits

attached thereto..........................................................................................2


Claimant’s Memorandum of Law..............................................................3


No response was filed by the Defendant.