New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
PSOINAS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-033-377, Claim No. 112763, Motion No. M-77199

Synopsis

Case information

UID: 2010-033-377
Claimant(s): ROBERT PSOINAS, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLES J. PSOINAS, JR., AND ROBERT PSOINAS, AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS AND DISTRIBUTEES OF CHARLES J. PSOINAS, JR., DECEASED
Claimant short name: PSOINAS
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 112763
Motion number(s): M-77199
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: James J. Lack
Claimant's attorney: Levine & Grossman
By: Michelle F. Laskin, Esq.
Defendant's attorney: Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Attorney General
By: John L. Belford, IV, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: April 19, 2010
City: Hauppauge
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

This is a claim for the wrongful death of Charles J. Psoinas, Jr. (hereinafter "decedent") by Robert Psoinas, as Administrator of the Estate of Charles J. Psoinas, Jr., and Robert Psoinas, as Representative of the Heirs and Distributees of Charles J. Psoinas, Jr. (hereinafter "claimant"). Decedent's death was the result of a murder at the Garden Place Community Residence, West Hempstead, New York. The death was caused by another resident. Both decedent and his alleged murderer were patients at the Garden Place Community Residence, a psychiatric residence. The incident occurred on January 22, 2006.

Defendant moves this Court for summary judgment on the issue of liability(1) . Defendant argues there was no history of violence between the decedent and his alleged murderer. Therefore, defendant had no notice a potential problem existed. In addition, defendant argues the facility was secure and the alleged murderer did not have access to a knife.

In opposition to the motion, claimant argues there was a small history of complaints between the two individuals. Claimant further argues the residence was understaffed and not secured.

Summary judgment is a drastic remedy which deprives a party of its day in court and should not be granted where there is any doubt as to the existence of a material issue of fact (Moskowitz v Garlock, 23 AD2d 943; Epstein v Scally, 99 AD2d 713). The Court's function is to determine if an issue exists. In doing so, the Court must examine the proof in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Summary judgment may only be granted if movant provides evidentiary proof in admissible form to demonstrate that there are no questions of fact (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851; Wanger v Zeh, 45 Misc 2d 93, aff'd 26 AD2d 729). Once the movant has demonstrated a prima facie entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law, the burden shifts to the opposing party to submit evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to create an issue of fact or demonstrate an acceptable excuse for his failure to submit such proof (Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320). Mere conclusions, speculation or expressions of hope are insufficient to defeat the motion (Amatulli v Delhi Constr. Corp., 77 NY2d 525).

From the evidence presented, it is clear significant issues of fact exist. There is a question as to adequate staffing of the facility and whether or not a history did exist between decedent and his alleged murderer.

Based upon the foregoing, defendant's motion for summary judgment is denied.

April 19, 2010

Hauppauge, New York

James J. Lack

Judge of the Court of Claims


1. The following papers have been read and considered on defendant's motion: Notice of Motion dated September 15, 2009 and filed September 16, 2009; Affirmation of John L. Belford, IV, Esq. with annexed Exhibits 1-6 dated September 15, 2009 and filed September 16, 2009; Affirmation in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Michelle F. Laskin, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-E dated October 12, 2009 and filed October 15, 2009; Affirmation in Reply to Claimant's Opposition of John L. Belford, IV, Esq. dated November 25, 2009 and filed November 27, 2009.