New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
MCFADDEN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2019-041-022, Claim No. 113641, Motion No. M-93558

Synopsis

Claimant's motion to set aside court's decision in nonjury trial is denied.

Case information

UID: 2019-041-022
Claimant(s): REGINALD MCFADDEN
Claimant short name: MCFADDEN
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 113641
Motion number(s): M-93558
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANK P. MILANO
Claimant's attorney: REGINALD MCFADDEN
Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: NONE
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: April 30, 2019
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant moves to set aside the Court's Decision dismissing the claim after a nonjury trial. Although denominated by claimant as a motion made pursuant to CPLR 2221 for "reconsideration," claimant's motion is, in effect, a motion pursuant to CPLR 4404 (b) to set aside the Court's decision (Paterno v Strimling, 107 AD3d 1233, 1234 [3d Dept 2013]).

CPLR 4404 (b) provides as follows:

"Motion after trial where jury not required. After a trial not triable of right by a jury, upon the motion of any party or on its own initiative, the court may set aside its decision or any judgment entered thereon. It may make new findings of fact or conclusions of law, with or without taking additional testimony, render a new decision and direct entry of judgment, or it may order a new trial of a cause of action or separable issue."

Matter of Ramsey H. [Benjamin K.] (99 AD3d 1040, 1043 [3d Dept 2012]), sets forth the Court's powers and discretion in considering a CPLR 4404 (b) motion:

"CPLR 4404 (b) permits a court, after a nonjury trial, to set aside its decision. In so doing, the court may make new findings, take additional testimony and render a new decision, or order a new trial (see CPLR 4404 [b]). The statute leaves the circumstances for granting such relief to the discretion of the court (see Matter of Pratt v Schryver, 103 AD2d 1016, 1017 [1984]), and its decision whether to grant the motion will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion (see Micallef v Miehle Co., Div. of Miehle-Goss Dexter, 39 NY2d 376, 381 [1976]; Singer v Krul, 90 AD3d 1378, 1379 [2011], lv dismissed 18 NY3d 953 [2012])."

At trial, claimant alleged that while an inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility he was assaulted by several correction officers three distinct times in three different locations within a twenty-five minute period of time.

After hearing the trial testimony and reviewing the documentary evidence, the Court found that claimant's testimony that correction officers assaulted the claimant without provocation at three separate times in different locations, within twenty-five minutes, lacked credibility.

The Court further found that to impose liability, the Court would be required to discount the credible trial testimony of the correction officers disputing claimant's allegations and to conclude that the correction officers conspired to repeatedly assault claimant without cause and without provocation, and, in the aftermath of the assaults, further conspired to separately fabricate contemporaneous, detailed and consistent written accounts of the events.

The claimant fails to offer any legal or factual basis even minimally sufficient pursuant to CPLR 4404 (b) to cause the Court to exercise its discretion to make new findings, take additional testimony and render a new decision, or to order a new trial (Ramsey H., 99 AD3d at 1043).

For the foregoing reasons, the claimant's motion to set aside the Decision is denied.

April 30, 2019

Albany, New York

FRANK P. MILANO

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Claimant's Notice of Motion for Reconsideration, filed February 8, 2019;

2. Affidavit of Reginald McFadden, sworn to January 22, 2019, and attached exhibit.