The following papers were read on the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support and Exhibits annexed; Affirmation in
Opposition and Exhibits annexed. Filed papers: Claim, Answer.
The claimant seeks to hold the defendant liable for injuries she sustained
when, it is alleged, a window closed on her thumb, in room number 216 at Remsen
Hall at Queens College, one of the senior colleges at the City University of New
York (Education Law § 6224), where she is a student.
The defendant moves on its Ninth Affirmative Defense, to dismiss the claim on
the ground that it does not satisfy the requirements of Court of Claims Act
§11(b) because it fails to "include any particularization of the nature of
the cause of action and the defendant's conduct in regard to it." Answer,
The requirements of §11(b), including that "the claim shall state . . .
the nature of same," have consistently been applied in the context of their
purpose, which is to enable the defendant to investigate the claim promptly and
to ascertain its own liability. Sega v State of New York, 246 AD2d 753,
755. "All elements of the claim need not be set out with formalistic rigidity,
but it must convey notice to the [defendant] to enable it to properly
investigate, defend, and/or settle the claim [citation omitted] . . . ."
Harper v State of New York, 34 AD2d 865.
"What is required is not absolute exactness, but simply a statement made with
sufficient definiteness to enable the [defendant] to be able to investigate the
claim promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances. The
statement must be specific enough so as not to mislead, deceive or prejudice the
rights of the [defendant]. In short, substantial compliance with section 11 is
what is required [citations omitted]." Heisler v State of New York, 78
AD2d 767, at 767-768; see also, Sheils v State of New York, 249 AD2d 459;
Schneider v State of New York, 234 AD2d 357; Riefler v State of New
York, 228 AD2d 1000, 1001.
By this standard the claim, which, inter alia, refers to the contents of
an incident report annexed to the claim, satisfies the requirements of Court of
Claims Act §11(b). The incident report, apparently prepared by an employee
of the defendant shortly after the incident, includes the following entry: "The
aided stated that her left thumb was smashed when a hood window in room [???]
slammed down on it when she removed a ring stand under the window. * * * I
checked the hood window in Room 216 and found the window would not stay up, it
would slam shut, I repeated the process a few times and it continued to do the
same thing." As stated by the Court in Heisler v State of New York,
supra, at 768: "The manner in which claimant was injured and how the
defendant was negligent were stated or can be reasonably inferred [citation
In accordance with the foregoing, the defendant's motion is