This is the motion of Valerie Chamble for permission to file a late claim
pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (the "Act"). In her proposed
claim, Chamble asserts that on April 9, 1997, she injured her wrist while
unloading boxes off a truck at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Claimant
contends that she should not have been assigned the job, i.e., the boxes
were too heavy and should have been lifted by the truck driver. She further
contends that her injury was made worse because she was required to continue
working (cleaning pots and pans) for four hours following the incident.
Claimant served the Attorney General with a notice of intention on June 20,
1997, but never served or filed a claim.
In determining whether to grant this motion, the six factors enumerated in the
Act must be considered. The factors are not necessarily exhaustive, nor is the
presence or absence of any
: whether (1) the defendant had
notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (2) the defendant had an
opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; (3) the
defendant was substantially prejudiced; (4) the claimant has any other
available remedy; (5) the delay was excusable and (6) the claim appears to be
The first, second and third factors -- whether the state had notice of the
essential facts, whether the state had an opportunity to investigate and whether
the state would be prejudiced by the granting of this motion are intertwined and
may be considered together. See Brewer v State of New York, 176 Misc 2d
337, 342, 672 NYS2d 650, 655 (Ct Cl 1998). In this case, Chamble's notice of
intention was served approximately two months after the incident. Defendant was
thus provided with sufficient opportunity to investigate and prepare its
defenses. Accordingly, Chamble satisfies the notice-opportunity-prejudice
factors of the Act.
As to alternative remedy, it appears undisputed that a claim against the state
in this Court is Chamble's sole remedy. As to excuse, she states that she was
unaware of the filing requirements of the Court of Claims. Unfamiliarity with
the law does not excuse late filing. See, e.g., Matter of E.K.
(Anonymous) v State of New York, 235 AD2d 540, 652 NYS2d 759 (2d Dept 1997).
Claimant thus does not have a satisfactory excuse for the purposes of the
The final factor to be considered is merit. In this case, Chamble has
submitted no independent documentation of the incident, although she suggests in
her papers that there are extant reports as to the incident as well as medical
records. Nor has she submitted any support – such as a physician's
affirmation or medical records -- for her theory that continuing to work after
the incident exacerbated her injury.
Matter of Santana v NYS Thruway Authority
, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11, 399 NYS2d 395, 402-03 (Ct Cl 1977) sets out a standard to
ascertain whether a claim appears meritorious: (i) the claim "must not be
patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective" and (ii) upon consideration
of the entire record, including the proposed claim and any exhibits or
affidavits, "there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action
exists." I am constrained to find that Chamble has failed to satisfy this
In view of the foregoing, having reviewed the parties'
IT IS ORDERED that motion M-58884