New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

Peterson v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-005-505, Claim No. 101201, Motion No. M-60722


In this inmate pro se medical/malpractice claim, Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to (1) file claim is denied as claim was filed, and (2) state a cause of action is denied at this time.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Dale Peterson, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Timothy P. Mulvey, Esq.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 10, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


On December 15, 1999, the following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Defendant for dismissal of the claim:
Papers Numbered
Notice of Motion, Affirmation and Exhibits Annexed 1, 2

Opposing Affidavit 3

Filed Papers: Claim 4

Upon the foregoing papers, this motion is denied.

The Defendant seeks dismissal of the claim herein, inter alia, on the ground that no claim was filed with the Clerk of the Court. The Defendant had been served with the claim herein on October 8, 1999, and, upon making inquiry of the Clerk's office , was advised that no claim had yet been filed. Accordingly, Defendant moved, in lieu of an answer, to have the claim dismissed because the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, due to the purported failure to have filed the claim. It appears however, despite the initial information from the Clerk's office, that a claim was indeed filed on October 4, 1999. Accordingly, that part of the Defendant's motion is denied.

The Defendant also seeks dismissal on the ground that the claim fails to state a cause of action. The claim alleges medical negligence and/or medical malpractice relating to certain eye problems for which Claimant sought treatment while an inmate at the Cayuga Correctional Facility. The Defendant alleges that this was a pre-existing condition, preceding Claimant's incarceration, and that the claim simply alleges Claimant's dissatisfaction with the medical care he did receive.

Claimant argues that his claim never references a pre-existing condition, and that in fact the condition first appeared only while he was incarcerated at Cayuga Correctional Facility. My review of the claim did not reveal a reference to a pre-existing condition. Claimant alleges a deviation from accepted medical care, and inasmuch as he is an inmate who is not required to provide the otherwise requisite certificate of merit (CPLR 3012-a[f]), it appears that he alleges something more than a mere dissatisfaction with his treatment. This of course does not mean that Claimant will be able to prove that which he alleges, but that he does allege enough to overcome the motion for dismissal for the failure to state a cause of action. Indeed, to the extent that the claim sounds in medical malpractice, it is likely that Claimant will require expert testimony to establish that cause of action, as CPLR 3012-a merely obviates the need for the certificate of merit to accompany the claim, and it does not obviate the need for competent proof.

Accordingly, at this early stage, the Defendant's motion is denied.

April 10, 2000
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims