New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RAMSEY v. THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, #2000-016-076, Claim No. 102331, Motion Nos. M-61914, CM-61987


Motion to strike affirmative defenses was denied as moot and cross-motion to dismiss was granted on the grounds, inter alia, of failure to comply with the particularity requirements of §11 of the Court of Claims Act.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant is the City University of New York.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Lance Ehrenberg, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Susan J. Pogoda, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 25, 2000
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


In the underlying claim, it is alleged that Sonia Ramsey was injured when automatic doors at Medgar Evers College struck her. This is claimant's motion to strike defendant's fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth affirmative defenses. Essentially, the fifth and eighth affirmative defenses assert that the Court lacks jurisdiction because of claimant's failure to comply with the particularity requirements of §11 of the Court of Claims Act (the "Act") and the seventh and ninth affirmative defenses assert that the state is not a proper defendant. The cross-motion is defendant's motion to dismiss. The State of New York and the City University of New York ("CUNY") are separate and distinct legal entities, and the State is not a proper defendant in claims based upon activities imputed to the City University. See generally, Jones v City University of New York, 57 NY2d 984, 457 NYS2d 235 (1982). In this case, only the activities of CUNY have been raised and accordingly, the State is not a proper defendant.

Defendant asserts that this Court also lacks jurisdiction because the notice of intention was never served on the State. Where CUNY is the defendant, both it and the Attorney General must be served with the notice of intention. See §11.a.(ii) of the Act. However, §11.c. provides that any objection or defense based upon failure to comply with the service requirements of §11.a. is waived unless raised in the answer or a motion to dismiss made prior to the answer. In this case, defendant failed to raise a service defense in its answer and thus it has waived this defense.

We are thus left with the issue of whether claimant has complied with the particularity requirements of §11 of the Act. Section 11(b) of the Act provides that a "claim shall state the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same, and the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and the total sum claimed." "The claim must plead the facts relied upon to sustain a recovery. In addition it must set forth a valid cause of action . . ." Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623, 625, 622 NYS2d 177, 178 (Ct Cl 1994) (citation omitted). The purpose of §11 of the Act "is to give the State prompt notice of an occurrence and an opportunity to investigate the facts . . ." Id., 163 Misc 2d at 626, 622 NYS2d at 179.

In this case, claimant asserts that on November 3, 1999, the date of the accident, she was a student at Medgar Evers College at 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. She describes the claim as follows: "[T]he claimant was entering the premises of Medgar Evers College when the automatic doors thereat did malfunction and strike the person of the claimant." It is not stated which building at Medgar Evers College was the site of the incident, or for that matter, whether the facility consists of more than one building. Even assuming that the incident occurred at 1650 Bedford Avenue, it is not stated which set of doors was the site of the accident or if there was only one set of doors. Nor does claimant describe how the doors malfunctioned. In addition, while she states that the claim arose on November 3, 1999[1], her claim specifies no time. As set forth above, §11.b. of the Act requires that the time of the incident must be stated in the claim. "Time" as used in this section has been construed to require both the day and time. See Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 433 NYS2d 646 (4th Dept 1980). In view of the foregoing, Ramsey has failed to comply with §11 of the Act, warranting dismissal of her claim.

Accordingly, having reviewed the parties' submissions,[2] IT IS ORDERED that cross-motion no. CM-61987 be granted in its entirety and the claim of Sonia Ramsey be dismissed. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that motion no. 61914 be denied as moot.

September 25, 2000
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]Defendant is not required to go beyond a claim to ascertain information which should be provided in the claim itself, see, e.g., Schneider v State of New York, Claim No. 91422, Motion No. M-51856, Cross-Motion No. CM-52045, filed September 14, 1995 (Silverman, J.). Nonetheless, it should be noted that an accident report submitted by claimant on this motion states that the incident occurred on November 2, not November 3, 1999.
  2. [2]Aside from the pleadings, the following were reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affirmation in support and Exhibits A-C; defendant's notice of cross-motion with Exhibits A-D; claimant's reply affirmation; and defendant's reply affirmation.