New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
RUSSO v. NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY AUTHORITY, and STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-010-028, Claim No. 114545, Motion No. M-78047

Synopsis

Motion to be relieved as counsel granted. Claimant fails to cooperate in representation.

Case information

UID: 2010-010-028
Claimant(s): ROBERT RUSSO and AIDA RUSSO
Claimant short name: RUSSO
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY AUTHORITY, and STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 114545
Motion number(s): M-78047
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney: DUPÉE & MONROE, P.C.
By: Jon C. Dupée, Jr.
Defendant's attorney: HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General for the State of New York
By: Barry Kaufman, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: April 21, 2010
City: White Plains
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on the unopposed motion of claimants' attorney, the law firm of Dupée & Monroe, P.C., to be relieved as counsel for claimants regarding Claim No. 114545:

Order to Show Cause, Attorney's Supporting Affirmation and Exhibits

The Rules of Professional Conduct provide that a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if the client "fails to cooperate in the representation or otherwise renders the representation unreasonably difficult for the lawyer to carry out employment effectively" (Rule 1.16[c][7]). On a motion to withdraw as counsel, the movant must demonstrate reasonable notice to the client and good and sufficient cause for the withdrawal (see Willis v Holder, 43 AD3d 1441, J.M. Heinike Assoc. v Liberty Natl. Bank, 142 AD2d 929; Johns-Manville Sales Corp. v State Univ. Constr. Fund, 79 AD2d 782).

According to the affirmation of claimants' counsel, Jon C. Dupée, Jr., the attorney/client relationship has "degraded to a point that [the firm] can no longer continue to represent [claimants]" (Attorney's Affirmation, 7). In February 2009, the law firm was informed that claimants had consulted a new attorney. Claimants, however, have not informed the Court that they have retained new counsel. Since February 2009, the law firm has made numerous attempts to contact claimants by telephone and a letter was sent to claimants' home on January 4, 2010 seeking claimants' voluntary discontinuance of this claim (Ex. C). Claimants have not responded to the firm's telephone calls or correspondence. Accordingly, the law firm seeks an order permitting its withdrawal from this matter.

The application is hereby GRANTED. Prosecution of Claim No. 114545 is stayed for sixty days from the filing of this Decision and Order to permit claimants an opportunity to retain new counsel. If by that time an appearance of counsel has not been filed with the Court, claimants will be deemed to appear pro se. Claimants are reminded that they are required to inform the Clerk of the Court in Albany, in writing, of any change in address.

Additionally, a preliminary conference on this claim is scheduled for July 30, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Court of Claims, 140 Grand Street, Suite 507, White Plains where claimants (either by counsel or pro se) and defendants' attorney shall appear in person. Should claimants or their attorney fail to appear for the scheduled preliminary conference, this Court will dismiss the claim (22 NYCRR 206.10[g]).

It is further ordered that, within fourteen days of the filing of this Decision and Order, the law firm is directed to file an affidavit with the Chief Clerk's office indicating that service of a copy of this Decision and Order was made upon claimants by certified mail, return receipt requested and by ordinary mail to claimants' last known address and that claimants' file has been turned over to them.

April 21, 2010

White Plains, New York

Terry Jane Ruderman

Judge of the Court of Claims