New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
JAWORSKI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2020-015-022, Claim No. 126922

Synopsis

Claim was dismissed, sua sponte, for failure to prosecute pursuant to CPLR 3216.

Case information

UID: 2020-015-022
Claimant(s): RAYMOND JAWORSKI
Claimant short name: JAWORSKI
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) : The caption has been amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 126922
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Raymond Jaworski, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General
By: James Williams, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: February 14, 2020
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

On the Court's own motion, the claim is dismissed pursuant to CPLR 3216.

On October 26, 2015 claimant, a pro se inmate, filed a claim seeking damages for injuries sustained on April 6, 2015 when he fell while being escorted, in shackles, from the Rome City Courthouse. Separate and apart from the injuries claimant sustained in the fall, he also alleges a failure to timely treat his breathing problems on April 6, 2015 while he was incarcerated at the Oneida County Correctional Facility. The only named defendant in the claim is "Oneida County Correctional Facility" and claimant's last known address is at the same facility.

By letter dated March 11, 2019, the Court notified claimant of its determination that he had unreasonably neglected to proceed with the prosecution of his claim and demanded, pursuant to CPLR 3216 (b), that claimant resume prosecution and serve and file the Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness for Trial within 90 days of receipt of the letter. The Court noted in the letter that claimant had failed to notify the Court of his address change and failed to communicate with the Court in the more than three years that had passed since the claim was filed. A letter scheduling a preliminary telephone conference had been returned to the Court on December 8, 2016 with the notation "RETURN TO SENDER . . . REFUSED . . .UNABLE TO FORWARD." To date, claimant has failed to notify the Court of his current address and, as expected, the letter dated March 11, 2019 demanding that claimant serve and file a Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness for Trial was returned with the notation "RETURN TO SENDER . . . REFUSED . . . UNABLE TO FORWARD."

As a threshold matter, the Court of Claims is a Court of limited jurisdiction empowered to award damages in appropriation, contract or tort for claims against the State of New York (see NY Const, art VI, 9; Court of Claims Act 9) and certain other specified entities (see, e.g., Education Law 6224 [4]; Public Authorities Law 361-b and 2622). The Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction to decide matters involving county correctional facilities such as the Oneida County Correctional Facility, which is the named defendant in this claim.

In addition, the claimant's failure to serve and file the Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness within 90 days as demanded, or to otherwise move to either vacate the demand or extend his time to file the Note of Issue, requires that the claim be dismissed for failure to prosecute (CPLR 3216; Baczkowski v Collins Constr. Co., 89 NY2d 499, 503-504 [1997]; Ofiara v Nike, Inc., 21 AD3d 686 [3d Dept 2005], lv denied 5 NY3d 717 [2005]; Stuckey v Westchester County Dept. of Transp., 298 AD2d 577 [2d Dept 2002], lv denied 100 NY2d 502 [2003]). Inasmuch as claimant was required to communicate changes in his post office address in writing to the Clerk within 10 days thereof, the fact that he may not have received the 90-day demand, which was sent by both regular mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, is inconsequential (see 22 NYCRR 206.6 [f]; Lopez v State of New York, 21 Misc 3d 563 [Ct Cl, 2008]).

Moreover, in light of claimant's failure to take any steps to prosecute this claim and keep the Court and the defendant apprised of his current address, the Court finds that the claimant has neglected and abandoned his claim thereby warranting the Court's exercise of its "wholly discretionary" authority to dismiss the claim for failure to prosecute pursuant to Court of Claims Act 19 (3) (Dickan v State of New York, 16 AD3d 760, 761 [3d Dept 2005]; Randolph v The State of New York, Ct Cl, April 3, 2013, Midey, J., claim No. 116908, UID No. 2013-009-005).

Based on the foregoing, defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed.

February 14, 2020

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Claim filed October 26, 2015;
  2. Correspondence from Hon. Christopher J. McCarthy, J.J.C. dated March 11, 2019, with envelope.