New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WILLIAMS v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-018-043, Claim No. 115887, Motion No. M-76856


Synopsis


The Court grants permission to amend the ad damnum clause.

Case Information

UID:
2009-018-043
Claimant(s):
RONALD E. 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):
115887
Motion number(s):
M-76856
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
RONALD E. WILLIAMSPro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New YorkBy: Thomas M. Trace, Esquire
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 6, 2009
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant makes a motion pursuant to CPLR 3025(b) to amend the ad damnum clause of


his claim for wrongful confinement from $5,000 to $19,000. Defendant opposes the motion.


Claimant’s cause of action sounds in wrongful confinement as he alleges that he was held in the Special Housing Unit for 19 days beyond the imposed disciplinary confinement without just cause.

Defendant opposes the motion on the ground that a motion to amend the claim solely to increase the amount of damages stated in the ad damnum clause is moot given the amendment to the Court of Claims Act § 11(b), which sets forth the requirements for the claim and now directs that the amount of damages need not be set forth for certain claims.

Although Court of Claims Act § 11(b) no longer makes setting forth the total amount of damages sought a requirement for “action[s] to recover damages for personal injury, medical, dental or podiatric malpractice or wrongful death,” for other types of claims it is still a requirement. Since this is a claim for wrongful confinement, the amount of damages must be set forth.

Leave to amend pleadings shall be freely given within the discretion of the trial court absent prejudice to the opposing party (CPLR 3025[b]; Edenwald Contracting Co. Inc. v City of New York, 60 NY2d 957). “Where no prejudice is shown, the amendment may be allowed ‘during or even after trial’.” (Loomis v Civetta Corinno Const. Corp., 54 NY2d 18, 23, quoting Dittmar Explosives v A.E. Ottaviano, Inc., 20 NY2d 498, 502). Prejudice does not result from merely the exposure of the Defendant to greater liability, but instead involves limiting the Defendant’s ability to prepare its case or eliminating an opportunity it could have had to support its position (Loomis, 54 NY2d at 18, 23). Although the better practice would have been to provide more information to support the amendment; in this case, since the action has been pending for less than one year, there is still time for discovery as this claim has not been scheduled for trial.[1] There is no prejudice to the Defendant and none is asserted, the Court will grant permission to amend the ad damnum clause.

Accordingly Claimant’s motion is GRANTED. Claimant is directed to file and serve Defendant with a copy of the amended pleading increasing the ad damnum clause from $5,000 to $19,000 within thirty days of the date this Decision and Order is filed with the Clerk of the Court.






October 6, 2009
Syracuse, New York

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


The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:
1. Notice of Motion.

2. Affidavit of Ronald Edward Williams, in support, sworn to June 8, 2009.


3. Affirmation of Thomas M. Trace, Esquire, in opposition, with exhibits attached thereto.


[1]. Since this is a prisoner pro se claim this is not a case in which a note of issue has to be filed (see Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims § 206.12[a]).