New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SIGNORELLI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-033-339, Claim No. 115136, Motion Nos. M-75884, CM-75885


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
James J. Lack
Claimant’s attorney:
Law Offices of Kevin T. Grennan, PLLCBy: Kevin T. Grennan, Esq.
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Attorney General
By: Todd A. Schall, Assistant Attorney General

Hammill, O’Brien, Croutier, Dempsey & Pender, P.C.
Attorneys for Long Island Power Authority and
Keyspan Corporation
By: Brian V. Connor, Esq.

McAndrew, Conboy & Prisco
Attorneys for Verizon NY, Inc.By: Yuichi Paul Lee, Esq.
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 30, 2009

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a claim for alleged injuries to Helen-Marie Signorelli (hereinafter “claimant”) caused by the defendant, the State of New York (hereinafter “defendant”). The claim of Michael R. Signorelli is derivative in nature. The claim arose on June 8, 2007 at approximately 8:15 a.m. Claimant alleges that she was caused to trip and fall near the intersection of State Highway Route 27 and Lake Shore Drive, Massapequa, New York. Claimant has also commenced an action in Supreme Court. Three of the defendants in that action are the Long Island Power Authority, Keyspan Corporation and Verizon NY, Inc. (hereinafter (“LIPA”, “Keyspan” and “Verizon”). It is unknown at this time what entity is responsible for the obstruction claimant tripped over.

Claimant obtained court ordered subpoenas for records from the entities listed previously as non-parties in this action. LIPA, Keyspan and Verizon move this Court to quash its subpoenas[1]. Movants argue that the documents sought have previously been provided to claimant in the Supreme Court action. At a conference held in Chambers, claimant responded that the documents provided were non-responsive and incomplete.

The establishment of the court system is found in Article VI of the New York State Constitution. Article VI, §7 states that the Supreme Court shall “have general original jurisdiction in law and equity and the appellate jurisdiction herein provided.”
The Supreme Court in this State is a court of general original jurisdiction in law and equity (see N. Y. Const., art. VI, § 7, subd. a.) and, in conformity with its all inclusive powers, the court is authorized in any action to render such judgment as is appropriate to the proofs received in conformity with the allegations of the pleadings, irrespective of the nature of the relief demanded, subject, of course, in a proper case, to the imposition of such terms as may be necessary to protect the rights of any party.

(Kaminsky v Kahn, 23 AD2d 231, 236).

Separately, the Court of Claims is established by NY Const Art. VI, §9, which states, in relevant part that “[t]he court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine claims against the state or by the state against the claimant or between conflicting claimants as the legislature may provide.” The Court of Claims is limited to awarding money damages against the State of New York (Matter of Silverman v Comptroller of State of N.Y., 40 AD2d 225).

The Supreme Court and the Court of Claims are equal courts of original jurisdiction. Neither court can control the other, even when dealing with the same incident.

In this action, claimant is entitled to the records she has subpoenaed. This Court has no power to correct improper discovery in the Supreme Court action. Claimant is entitled to an appropriate response in this matter to aid her case against defendant.

Based on the foregoing, the motions to quash the subpoenas on behalf of LIPA, Keyspan and Verizon are denied.

March 30, 2009
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1].The following papers have been read and considered on Long Island Power Authority and Keyspan Corporation’s motion and Verizon NY, Inc’s cross-motion: Notice of Motion dated October 28, 2008 and filed October 31, 2008; Affirmation in Support of Brian V. Connor, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-G dated October 28, 2008 and filed October 31, 2008; Memorandum of Law dated October 28, 2008 and received October 31, 2008; Notice of Cross Motion dated November 12, 2008 and filed November 21, 2008; Affirmation in Support of Yuichi Paul Lee, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-D dated November 12, 2008 and filed November 21, 2008; Affirmation in Opposition of Kevin T. Grennan, Esq. with annexed Exhibit A dated January 20, 2009 and filed January 27, 2009; Affidavit of Michelle Somma sworn to November 4, 2008 and filed January 30, 2009.