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Plaintiff Files Motion to Amend Her Claim, New York Court of Claims Weighs In


The claimant of this particular case is Gwyneth Barbara Moravec. The defendant in the case is the City University of New York. The Court of Claims of New York is overseeing this case. The claimant.

Gwyneth Barbara Moravec, has made a motion to amend her claim so that it will further describe her trip and fall accidentthat occurred. She wishes to amend the claim to state the accident occurred when she was walking down the second flight of stairs as opposed to coming down the third set of stairs when she was leaving the Performing Arts Center of Queens College on the 17th of June, 2006.

The defendant opposes this motion and cross moves to dismiss the claim as it is originally filed stating that it does not comply with subdivision b of the Court of Claims Act that states a claim for personal injury shall state the time and place where the claim arouse, the nature of the claim, and the items that were damaged or the injuries that were sustained.

Case Background

The incident in question occurred on the 17th of June, 2006 at around 11:30 p.m. The accident occurred on a set of stairs that leads to the entrance of the premises called the Performing Arts Center at Queens College. The claim states that the claimant was on the third set of stairs walking down when she slipped and fell. She states that the reason she fell was because the steps were defective, cracked, and had raised portions. She alleges that the state of the stairs was in violation of applicable building codes.

Case Discussion and Decision

The question is when a cause of action made by a claimant involves a set of stairs, what level of detail is required in order to satisfy section 11 of the Court of Claims Act? Consider two sets of circumstances in regard to this question. First, it is not necessary to identify the specific step as a practical matter to satisfy the Court of Claims Act. However, if the specific stairwell is not identified in the claim the Court of Claims Act is not satisfied.

In this case, Ms. Moravec fell on an exterior stairway that is broken into sets of steps by a series of landings. The claim made by Ms. Moravec states that the steps were cracked, broken, and defective with portions that were raised.

The court must determine if the pleading is descriptive of the location where the accident occurred. Additionally, it must be determined if naming the section between two landings is sufficient to satisfy section 11 of the Court of Claims Act.

When reviewing the submissions from both parties the court holds that the claim does not have to be that specific in order to meet the requirements of the law. The claimant will be allowed to amend her claim accordingly to describe the area where she fell correctly. The cross motion made by the defendant is denied. The claimant is ordered to file her claim within forty five days.

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