WELLS v. ST. VINCENT'S HOSP.


199 A.D.2d 27 (1993)

605 N.Y.S.2d 12

Carl Wells, Respondent, v. St. Vincent's Hospital, Appellant

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, First Department.

December 7, 1993


Plaintiff-respondent Carl Wells commenced this action alleging negligence and medical malpractice against defendant-appellant St. Vincent's Hospital allegedly arising out of his treatment after an automobile accident in 1991. In 1992, plaintiff was sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of nine to sixteen years. He is currently incarcerated.

At a preliminary conference on this action, the court, sua sponte, stayed this action until plaintiff is released from prison. The reason given by the court for staying the action was to relieve the State from the burden of producing the plaintiff for depositions, conferences, and other proceedings. We reverse.

CPLR 2201 authorizes a court to stay proceedings before it "upon such terms as may be just."

This record affords no basis for the imposition of a stay of such extraordinary duration. The prejudice to the parties in litigating this claim after such a substantial delay far out-weighs any discernible benefit to the State. We vacate the stay as an abuse of discretion as a matter of law (see, Haenel v November & November, 144 A.D.2d 298).


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