New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CROSLAND v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-014-530, Claim No. 102557, Motion No. M-61995


Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim is granted, on the ground that the claim does not satisfy the requirements of Court of Claims Act §11(b).

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):

S. Michael Nadel
Claimant's attorney:
Shelton Crosland, Pro se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Susan J. Pogoda, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 16, 2000
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read on the defendant's pre-answer motion to dismiss the claim: Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support and Exhibits annexed; Affidavit in Opposition. Filed paper: Claim.

The defendant moves to dismiss the claim, on the grounds that it does not state a cause of action against the State "nor does it include any particularization as to the State's conduct;" and that to the extent that it includes allegations against an employee of the Kings County District Attorney, the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over such allegations. The allegations against an employee of a District Attorney, a local and not a State official, are not cognizable in this Court. Fisher v State of New York, 10 NY2d 60. The defendant's motion seeking dismissal of that portion of the claim must be granted.

The essence of the allegations in the claim is that the claimant is serving a sentence of incarceration imposed after his conviction on an indictment which had previously been dismissed. He alleges negligence on the part of the Kings County Clerk and of the Court Attorney for the Administrative Judge of the Second Judicial District, although their alleged negligent acts are not specifically set forth in the claim. Rather, annexed to the claim is a certification by the County Clerk that an indictment against the claimant was dismissed, and a letter from the Court Attorney reciting the history of the claimant's prosecution and conviction, which includes the statement that the case against him was dismissed. The letter also states that as the result of an appeal by the People, the Appellate Division "reversed the court's suppression ruling and remitted the matter to the Supreme Court, Kings County."

Also annexed to the claim is the decision of a Supreme Court Justice, dated March 6, 2000, in a proceeding in which the claimant sought habeas corpus relief on the ground that he was being unlawfully detained because the indictment against him had been dismissed. The Court denied his application, concluding that his "claim that the indictment pending against him was dismissed is in direct conflict with the official certified stenographic minutes of the proceedings." In its decision, the Court noted that there were entries in various court records which indicated the indictment had been dismissed. In the "Second Cause of Action" in the claim, the claimant states that he has appealed this determination to the Appellate Division.

It is unclear from the claim, or from the claimant's opposition to this motion, how apparently erroneous statements that an indictment was dismissed constitute negligent acts which would support a finding of liability on the part of the defendant.[1] As such, the claim does not state a cause of action against the defendant. Moreover, under these circumstances, the claim does not sufficiently set forth the nature of the claim, as required by Court of Claims Act §11(b). "Conclusory or general allegations of negligence that fail to adduce the manner in which the claimant was injured and how the State was negligent do not meet [those] requirements." Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, at 767-768.

In accordance with the foregoing, the defendant's motion is granted; the claim is dismissed.

October 16, 2000
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]According to the claim, the conviction was affirmed by the Appellate Division. People v Crosland, 251 AD2d 509, leave denied, 92 NY2d 895.