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CHAMBERS - JUDGE JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III


130 South Elmwood Avenue, 3rd Floor, Suite 300, Buffalo, NY 14202

Communications with Chambers | Requests for Adjournments or Extensions of Time | Appearance by Counsel | Preliminary Conference | Motions | Disclosure Motions | Trial Preparation Conference | Judicial Subpoenas | Settlements | Discontinuances


Practice in the Court of Claims is governed by the Court of Claims Act (Book 29A, Part 2, McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York, Annotated), the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims (22 NYCRR Part 206) and decisions of the Court of Claims and of Appellate Courts. Most of the Court of Claims decisions do not appear in the Official Reports. The full text of decisions filed since March of 2000 is available on a searchable database at the website of the Court of Claims.

When appearing before Court of Claims Judge Jeremiah J. Moriarty III, certain individual rules of practice also apply. These rules, which will be updated and amended periodically, are intended to facilitate the orderly and efficient administration of claims before this Court. Unless otherwise ordered by Judge Moriarty, matters before this Court shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules of practice:


1. Communications with Chambers

Letters.
Except for routine scheduling and calendar matters, and situations requiring immediate attention, communications with Chambers shall be by letter, sent by regular or express mail, as necessary, addressed to: Judge Jeremiah J. Moriarty III, 130 South Elmwood Avenue, Third Floor, Suite 300, Buffalo, NY 14202, or delivered by hand to the receptionist on the 3rd floor, in an envelope addressed to Chambers. Copies of the letter shall be simultaneously delivered to all counsel in such a manner that opposing counsel will receive it before, or contemporaneously with, the submission to Chambers. Copies of correspondence between counsel shall not be sent to Chambers.

Telephone Calls.
For routine scheduling and calendar matters, and situations requiring immediate attention, call 716-515-4820 between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.

Faxes.
Faxes to Chambers are permitted so long as they are followed by a hard copy sent to Chambers, with copies simultaneously delivered to all counsel in such a manner that opposing counsel will receive it before, or contemporaneously with, the submission to Chambers. The fax number is 716-515-4823.

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2. Requests for Adjournments or Extensions of Time

All requests for adjournments of scheduled Court appearances, return dates of motions, or for an extension of time shall be made only after consultation with opposing counsel. The request to Chambers must indicate whether opposing counsel consents and propose a new date on which the parties have agreed. See, Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Appendix A, Part III (22 NYCRR Part 1200). A request for an adjournment or an extension of time may be made by letter or telephone call to Chambers.

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3. Appearance by Counsel

Counsel appearing at a conference with the Court must be fully familiar with the case, authorized to explore settlement, and able to enter into agreements pertaining to substantive and procedural issues in the case.

Whenever new counsel is substituted or the attorney of record designates trial counsel, written notice of such substitution shall be promptly filed with the Clerk of the Court in Albany and notice given to all parties in compliance with § 206.16 of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims.

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4. Preliminary Conference

Counsel will be notified by Chambers of the date set for the Preliminary Conference provided for by § 206.10 of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims. Generally, this will be on the fourth Wednesday of a month.

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5. Motions

Motion practice in the Court of Claims is governed by §§ 206.8 and 206.9 of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims. Motions before this Court are returnable on the second Wednesday of each month. In compliance with § 206.9 (c) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims, no oral argument on a motion is required or permitted, except where ordered by the Court. If counsel wish to have oral argument, that request shall be prominently typed at the top of the Notice of Motion or Cross-Motion, or the Affidavit in Opposition. In the event this Court grants the request, counsel will be notified of the date and time for oral argument. Unless counsel are so notified, they should consider the request denied.

Section 206.9(b) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims requires that an original and two copies of motion papers be filed with the Clerk of the Court in Albany. Section 206.5-a permits filing by facsimile transmission. Courtesy copies of motion papers should not be sent to Chambers.

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6. Disclosure Motions

Pursuant to § 206.8(b) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims, a motion relating to discovery may not be made without first conferring with the Court. Parties who wish to make a discovery motion must first submit a written request to the Court explaining the nature of the dispute and the relief sought. Copies of the request shall simultaneously be delivered to all counsel in such manner that opposing counsel will receive it before or contemporaneously with the submission to Chambers. A conference with the Court or the Judge's Clerk shall be held in an effort to resolve the dispute before such a motion may be made. If permission to file a disclosure motion is given by the Court, the Notice of Motion must include statement that permission has been granted.

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7. Trial Preparation Conference

A Trial Preparation Conference (TPC) will be conducted by this Court's Law Clerk approximately three weeks prior to trial. The requirements for the TPC may vary, in the Court's discretion, to suit the type and complexity of the case. Instructions for the conduct of the TPC will be sent to counsel when the trial and the TPC are scheduled. Counsel who will try the case are required to be present at this conference.

Typically, a TPC will address any matter pertaining to the trial and the orderly and efficient administration of the claim including, without limitation:

At the TPC each counsel will exchange a written list of all non-opinion witnesses, opinion witnesses and deposition witnesses expected to be called at trial. Counsel should be prepared to discuss the order in which the witnesses will testify and the estimated length of their testimony. With respect to deposition testimony, the Court would prefer that the entire transcript be marked as an Exhibit. Counsel should prepare a list of page and line references when counsel intends to rely on only a portion of a particular deposition transcript.

At the TPC each counsel will exchange a written list of trial Exhibits and be prepared to pre-mark each Exhibit for identification. The marked Exhibits will be returned to counsel at the conclusion of the TPC.

At the TPC each counsel should be prepared to discuss any evidentiary issues likely to arise at trial, and present copies of any pre-trial briefs, with the original being filed with the Clerk of the Court in Albany.

At the TPC each counsel should be prepared to discuss any special arrangements, such as interpreters, audio-visual equipment, special accessibility, etc.

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8. Judicial Subpoenas

Counsel are encouraged to issue their own trial subpoenas (CPLR 2302 [a]). Judicial Subpoenas requiring the Court's signature (CPLR 2302 [b] and 2307) should be submitted to Chambers sufficiently in advance so that they may be returned signed to counsel at the TPC.

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9. Settlements

Pursuant to the provisions of section 20-a of the Court of Claims Act, settlements are by written stipulation approved by the Court and filed with the Clerk of the Court in Albany. In the case of a claim brought by an administrator of an estate, or the representative of an infant or incompetent, counsel must submit appropriate documentation that the administrator or representative is authorized to settle the claim.

The Court encourages the exploration of settlements at any stage of the litigation. Counsel may call Chambers and arrange to meet with my law clerk to discuss this possibility.

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10. Discontinuances

The Court requires compliance with the provisions of CPLR 3217 governing discontinuance of a claim. In particular, a Court order will be necessary to discontinue a claim brought on behalf of an infant or incompetent or by an administrator of an estate. In the case of an infant or incompetent, counsel must submit an affirmation of counsel and an affidavit of the guardian explaining the reasons why the claim is being discontinued. In the case of an estate, counsel must submit documentation that the administrator is authorized to discontinue the claim.

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