New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROOKS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-001-031, Claim No. N/A, Motion No. M-63297


Synopsis


Claimant's motion seeking permission to treat the notice of intention as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (8) is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2001-001-031
Claimant(s):
KORAN BROOKS
Claimant short name:
BROOKS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
N/A
Motion number(s):
M-63297
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Susan Phillips Read
Claimant's attorney:
Koran Brooks, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: James E. Shoemaker, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 22, 2001
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read and considered on claimant's motion seeking permission to treat the notice of intention as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (8): Notice of Motion, dated March 21 and filed March 26, 2001; Affidavit of Koran Brooks, sworn to March 22 and filed March 26, 2001, with annexed Exhibits A-B; Affirmation in Opposition of James E. Shoemaker, Esq., AAG, dated April 17 and filed April 20, 2001.

Claimant Koran Brooks ("claimant") appears to have served a timely notice of intention upon the Attorney-General on March 22, 1999 (Affidavit of Koran Brooks, sworn to March 22 and filed March 26, 2001, with annexed Exhibits A-B ["Brooks Aff."], Exh. B) for incidents that he alleges occurred on January 12 and 13, 1999. The notice of intention states that on January 12, 1999, while preparing to go to keeplock recreation at Sing Sing Correctional Facility ("Sing Sing"), he was searched in a rough manner and grabbed by the neck by a correction officer (Brooks Aff., Exh. A). Claimant further alleges that the next morning, January 13, 1999, all other prisoners were released from keeplock while he remained in his cell; that upon his release from his cell, he was assaulted by correction officers; and that he was grabbed by the back of the collar, punched in the face a number of times, hit in the head with a baton and handcuffed during a portion of this assault (id.). He was then taken to the facility emergency room and treated for injuries to his eyes, head, back and throat. The notice of intention states that "claimant suffer of Body harm and Injured Because of Assault by Staffs member and medical neglect here in [sic]" (id.).

On March 26, 2001, claimant moved for permission to treat the notice of intention as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (8) (Brooks Aff.). Defendant State of New York ("defendant" or "the State") resists the motion, arguing that the time for claimant to have made this application has expired (Affirmation in Opposition of James E. Shoemaker, Esq., AAG, dated April 17 and filed April 20, 2001 ["Shoemaker Aff."], ¶¶ 4-8). The State also urges denial because the notice of intention is "confusing and contains conclusory allegations" (Shoemaker Aff., ¶ 9).

Court of Claims § 10 (8) may allow the Court, under proper circumstances, to treat a notice of intention as a claim.[1] The Court, however, "shall not grant such application unless: it is made before an action asserting a like claim against a citizen of the state would be barred under the provisions of article two of the civil practice law and rules" (Court of Claims Act § 10 [8] [a]). Here, the notice of intention describes intentional torts allegedly committed by correction officers against claimant, which accrued on January 12 and 13, 1999. The applicable general limitations period is one year from the cause of action's date of accrual (see, CPLR 215 [3]). Since claimant's time to commence such an action expired on January 13, 2000, his application is thus time-barred to the extent he pleads a cause of action for intentional tort (see, Court of Claims Act § 10 [8]; Maendel v State of New York, 178 Misc 2d 297).

Although not mentioned by the State, claimant's notice of intention vaguely suggests that his injuries were also caused by "medical neglect" for which he cites Kagan v State of New York (221 AD2d 7) (Brooks Aff., Exh. A [last page]); however, this passing reference is the sole indication that claimant may have contemplated a negligence/malpractice cause of action against the State: he does not describe the alleged "medical neglect" or state how any medical neglect injured him or how the State's medical care was deficient. Because the notice of intention therefore fails to "contain facts sufficient to constitute a claim" (Court of Claims Act § 10 [8] [a]), the Court cannot deem it a claim (see, e.g., Bonaparte v State of New York, 175 AD2d 683; Artale v State of New York, 140 AD2d 919; Patterson v State of New York, 54 AD2d 147, affd 45 NY2d 885).

Based on the foregoing, the Court denies claimant's application seeking permission to deem the notice of intention a claim.

June 22, 2001
Albany, New York

HON. SUSAN PHILLIPS READ
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]Inconsistencies between Court of Claims Act § 10 (8) and other portions of section 10 have caused some of the Court's judges to conclude that Chapter 466 of the Laws of 1995, which removed the requirement to file a notice of intention with the Court of Claims, impliedly repealed section 10 (8) (see, Konviser v State of New York, 180 Misc 2d 174; Brill v State of New York, Ct Cl, filed March 27, 2000, Bell, J., Claim No. None, Motion No. M-60994). Other judges have reasoned otherwise (see, Fox v State of New York, Ct Cl, filed June 7, 1999, King, J., Claim No. 99171, Motion No. M-58800, Cross-Motion No. CM-58963; Muller v State of New York, Ct Cl, filed May 5, 2000, O'Rourke, J., Claim No. None, Motion No. M-60862); however, for the reasons explained in the text the Court need not reach this issue on this motion. Both houses of the Legislature recently passed A. 7925/ S. 4409, which amends the Court of Claims Act to ensure that a timely and properly served notice of intention may be treated as a claim under appropriate circumstances.