New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TORRES v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-001-036, Claim No. 95365, Motion No. M-63437


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2001-001-036
Claimant(s):
ANGEL TORRES
Claimant short name:
TORRES
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
95365
Motion number(s):
M-63437
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Susan Phillip Read
Claimant's attorney:
Angel Torres, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Susan J. Pogoda, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 29, 2001
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read and considered on claimant's motion to restore his claim to the trial calendar pursuant to 22 NYCRR 206.15: Notice of Motion, dated April 19 and filed April 26, 2001; Affidavit in Support of Angel Torres, pro se, dated April 19 and filed April 26, 2001; Letter Response of Susan J. Pogoda, Esq., AAG, dated and received May 21, 2001; and the claim, verified November 22 and filed December 24, 1996.

Claimant Angel Torres ("claimant") filed this claim on December 24, 1996, alleging that defendant State of New York ("defendant" or "the State") is liable for injuries he sustained during an assault by three or four unknown inmates while he was a detainee at "C-95, Rikers Island" (claim, verified November 22 and filed December 24, 1996 ["claim"], ¶ 2-3).[1] The claim avers that the attack was caused by the neglect and inattentive performance of "N.Y.C. correction officers and officials" (claim, ¶ 2). Defendant never filed an answer to the claim and states in its letter response that it has no record of ever having been served with the claim (Letter Response of Susan J. Pogoda, Esq., AAG, dated and received May 21, 2001 ["Pogoda Letter"]).

The claim was called for a calendar call held on February 27, 2001, and claimant failed to appear or to communicate to the Court his intention to continue the action; therefore, the claim was dismissed pursuant to 22 NYCRR 206.15 (Torres v State of New York, Ct CL, unreported order filed March 29, 2001, Read, P.J., Claim No. 95365). Claimant now moves to restore his claim, explaining that he did not receive the Court's notice of the calendar call until March 15, 2001 because he had been detained at Rikers Island on February 20, 2001 on a parole violation and his mail had not been forwarded (Affidavit in Support of Angel Torres, pro se, dated April 19 and filed April 26, 2001, ¶ 4). Defendant opposes the motion arguing that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over the State because the claim was never served upon the Attorney-General, and that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim itself (Pogoda Letter).

Court of Claims Act § 19 (3) provides that "[c]laims may be dismissed for failure to appear or prosecute or be restored to the calender for good cause shown, in the discretion of the court" (see, 22 NYCRR 206.15, see also, CPLR 5015 [a] [1]). Besides presenting a reasonable excuse for the default, claimant must demonstrate that a meritorious cause of action exists (see, e.g., Cippitelli v Town of Niskayuna, 277 AD2d 540; Tiger v Town of Bolton, 150 AD2d 889, 890). Here, because the allegations of the claim do not state a cause of action against the State, claimant cannot make such a showing.

The jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is limited to that prescribed by statute and this Court does not have jurisdiction over facilities owned and operated by the City of New York (see, Court of Claims Act § 9). Rikers Island is such a facility; therefore, the Court of Claims does not possess subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the claim (see, Green v State of New York, Ct Cl, Marin, J., UID # 2000-016-052).[2] Accordingly, the Court denies claimant's motion to restore his claim to the trial calendar.



June 29, 2001
Albany, New York

HON. SUSAN PHILLIP READ
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]Based on the address given in the claim, the incident occurred at the Anna M. Kross Center, a house of detention owned and operated by the City of New York.
[2]This and many other decisions of the New York State Court of Claims can be found by following a link on its website at http://www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us/decisions.