New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DOBRANSKI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-009-411, Claim No. 101781, Motion No. M-61187


Defendant's motion to dismiss claim granted, based upon improper service of the claim, and also upon the basis of absolute immunity of Judges in the performance of their judicial functions.

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):

Nicholas V. Midey, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Attorney General
BY: Timothy P. Mulvey, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney General of Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 9, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:
Affirmed 726 NYS2d 43
See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant has brought this pre-answer motion for dismissal of the claim.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with this motion:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation, with Exhibit 1, 2

"Notice of Motion in Opposition", "Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss", with Exhibits 3, 4

Letter to the Court dated February 18, 2000 from Timothy P. Mulvey, Assistant Attorney General 5

Reply from Claimant, with Exhibit 6

Filed Papers: Claim

Court of Claims Act, § 11(a) requires that a claim be served upon the Attorney General either by personal delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested. This is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the maintenance of a claim and as such, must be strictly construed (Greenspan Bros. v State of New York, 122 AD2d 249).

In his affirmation, the Assistant Attorney General avers that this claim was served upon the Attorney General on January 13, 2000, by regular U.S. mail. A copy of the envelope in which the claim was received by the Attorney General has been submitted with the motion papers (Exhibit A to Items 1, 2), and this envelope indicates that postage of $.55 was affixed.

In his "Opposition" (Item 4), however, claimant states that following his initial attempt at service of the claim, and prior to defendant's motion herein, he realized his service was possibly defective and therefore re-served a copy of his claim upon the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested. He has submitted with his response papers copies of a receipt for certified mail, return receipt requested, and an acknowledgment of service card. The card, although unsigned, is stamped "Received" on "January 31, 2000", by the "NYS Office of the Attorney General", "Office of Legal Records". Claimant therefore has established to the satisfaction of this Court that his claim was served in compliance with the requirements of § 11(a).

Defendant, however, also argues that claimant has failed to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by this Court. The underlying claim alleges that an acting New York State Supreme Court Justice, Justices of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye of the Court of Appeals, all denied claimant relief pursuant to CPLR, Article 70. Specifically, as set forth in his claim, claimant alleges that on December 9, 1996, Acting Supreme Court Justice Peter E. Corning denied claimant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He then alleges that the Justices of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, unanimously affirmed Judge Corning's decision on November 19, 1997. He further alleges that Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye of the Court of Appeals then denied claimant's motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals on February 24, 1998. Claimant contends that by these actions, he has been subjected to continued unlawful imprisonment.

It is well settled, however, that Judges of this State are absolutely immune from civil liability for their judicial acts, and the State is not liable for any alleged error of a judicial officer (Murray v Brancato, 290 NY 52; Lombardoni v Boccaccio, 121 AD2d 828).

In his claim, claimant further contends that his constitutional rights were violated by these New York State Judges in denying his habeas corpus application. He also attempts to assert a claim of forfeiture in his motion papers, pursuant to CPLR § 7003(c). No matter how claimant attempts to frame his claim, however, his cause of action is based solely upon actions taken by the various New York State Judges performing their judicial functions. Set forth above, such actions are entitled to immunity, and are not properly the subject of a claim in this Court.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-61187 is GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Claim No. 101781 is hereby DISMISSED.

June 9, 2000
Syracuse, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims