New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SNYDER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-009-015, Claim No. 98503, Motion No. M-62880


Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim for improper and untimely service of the claim was granted.

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):

Nicholas V. Midey, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Attorney General
BY: Timothy P. Mulvey, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney Generalof Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 30, 2001

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant has brought this motion seeking an order dismissing the claim based upon improper and untimely service of the claim, as well as the failure of claimant to state a cause of action.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with this motion:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation, with Exhibits 1,2

Affirmation in Opposition 3

Supplemental Submission to Affirmation in Opposition, including deposition transcript of claimant and receipt for fine paid on May 1, 1998 4

As set forth in his claim, claimant asserts causes of action based on negligence, the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of his State Constitutional rights, all stemming from events which occurred on April 29, 1998.

On that date, claimant and his son were traveling on the New York State Thruway when he was stopped by a New York State Police trooper. As claimant then discovered, this stop was made pursuant to a warrant issued by the Village Court of the Village of Canastota. As set forth in this claim, claimant had previously been assessed a fine in the amount of $105.00 by the Canastota Village Court in 1995. Claimant alleges that he paid this fine in 1995, but that the Canastota Village Court was negligent in failing to cash the money order which had been mailed to the Court by claimant. The Canastota Village Court subsequently issued a warrant for claimant's arrest on April 28, 1998, and claimant was detained by the New York State Police the following day.

This claim was filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims on June 22, 1998, and was served upon the Attorney General on June 24, 1998.

Defendant now moves to dismiss this claim.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Court of Claims Act which are relevant herein, a claim must be served on the Attorney General and filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims within 90 days of accrual (Court of Claims Act, § 10[3] and [3-b]). Furthermore, Court of Claims Act, § 11(a) requires that a claim be served upon the Attorney General either by personal delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested. This is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the maintenance of a claim and as such, must be strictly construed (Greenspan Bros. V State of New York, 122 AD2d 249).

In this case, defendant asserts that the claim was served upon the Attorney General by regular, first class mail. A copy of the envelope in which the claim was served, attached to the moving papers (see Exhibit A), has postage of $.55 affixed thereto, satisfying the Court that the claim was served by first class mail, and not by certified mail, return receipt requested, as required by statute.

Accordingly, this Court finds that the claim which was served on June 24, 1998 was not served in accordance with the requirements of Court of Claims Act, § 11(a).

Subsequently, and apparently after receiving defendant's answer alleging improper service as an affirmative defense, claimant again served the claim on the Attorney General on August 17, 1998, this time by certified mail, return receipt requested. Since the cause of action accrued on April 29, 1998, however, this claim was not served within 90 days of accrual. The Court therefore finds that this second service of the claim was untimely. Furthermore, service of the first claim, which was not properly served, must be considered a nullity, and therefore cannot operate to extend the time in which claimant must file and serve a claim.

The service and filing requirements of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional prerequisites to the institution and maintenance of a claim against the State, and therefore must be strictly construed (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Authority, 75 NY2d 721; Byrne v State of New York, 104 AD2d 782, lv denied 64 NY2d 607). This claim, therefore, must be dismissed.

Since this Court has determined that the claim must be dismissed for improper and untimely service, it is not necessary for the Court to address that aspect of defendant's motion seeking dismissal of the claim for failure to state a cause of action.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-62880 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Claim No. 98503 is hereby DISMISSED.

March 30, 2001
Syracuse, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims