New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MADISON-ONEIDA LANDOWNERS, INC. v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-011-563, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-62950


Synopsis


Claimants motion for an order determining that the notice of intention served on defendant be treated as a claim or in the alternative, granting permission to late file a claim is denied. Claimants request that the court determine that no statute of limitations or accrual bar exists and also provide that the parties may amend and prosecute the claims when damages are ascertainable is also denied.

Case Information

UID:
2001-011-563
Claimant(s):
MADISON-ONEIDA LANDOWNERS, INC., Daniel F. Gates individually and as representatives of a class landowners of lands deeded by letters patent of former Oneida Indian Reservation lands, and by corporate member individuals too numerous to list
Claimant short name:
MADISON-ONEIDA LANDOWNERS, INC.
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-62950
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS J. McNAMARA
Claimant's attorney:
Carroll, Carroll, Davidson & Young, P.C.(John Benjamin Carroll, P.C., of counsel)
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Dennis M. Acton, Esq, Assistant Attorney General)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 28, 2001
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


Claimants have moved for an order determining that the notice of intention served ondefendant be treated as a claim or in the alternative, granting permission to late file the claim. Claimants have also requested that the court determine that no statute of limitations or accrual bar exist and also provide that the parties may amend and prosecute the claims when damages are ascertainable.

The Notice of Intention contains allegations that Claimants are holders by deed assignment of Letters Patent issued by the State of New York to lands formerly part of the Oneida Indian Reservation. According to allegations in the Notice of Intention, the United States of America and the Oneida Indian Nation have made claim in an action in Federal District Court that the Letters Patent issued by Defendant are not valid because the treaties from which they flow were illegally made. Damages for trespass and ejectment of the deed holders from the lands involved are sought as remedies in the federal court action. Claimants maintain that as a result of the foregoing they will incur expenses associated with litigation as well as with efforts to obtain legislative relief and may incur the loss of title, use, possession and enjoyment of their property and other damages "all in an amount not presently ascertainable."

Defendant has opposed the motion on the basis that the claims are premature. Court of Claims Act §10(6) authorizes the court to allow a party to file a claim after the time specified in the preceding subdivisions of that section but before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. Section 10(8) of the statute permits the court to treat a timely filed and served notice of intention as a claim so long as the applicable statute of limitations has not expired. Application of these sections presumes that the time has passed for filing a claim as of right. Whether the time for filing as of right has passed depends in turn on when the claim accrued (see, Court of Claims Act §10[4], [2], [3], [3-a], [3-b] and [4]) and accrual occurs when damages are reasonably ascertainable (Inter-Power of New York v State of New York, 230 AD2d 405).

Here, the supporting affidavits and the previously served notice of intention make clear that the alleged damages are not yet reasonably ascertainable. Even assuming that items of damage such as litigation and lobbying expenses would be recoverable, the total extent of such losses remains speculative since it is not known when, and with what efforts, the matter will be finally resolved. Moreover, other, more substantial, items of alleged damage, such as those related to use of the land, are, by Claimants' own admissions, purely speculative at this time. Inasmuch as the proposed claim has not yet accrued for filing purposes, the motion for permission to late file and the application to deem the notice of intention a claim are denied.

The request that the court make a separate determination that no statute of limitations or accrual bar exist is denied as beyond the jurisdiction of the court (see, Court of Claims Act §9). The application to allow Claimants to amend and prosecute the claims when damages are ascertainable is denied as unnecessary.

The motion is denied.

June 28, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. THOMAS J. MCNAMARA
Judge of the Court of Claims



Papers Submitted:

  1. Notice of Motion dated January 11, 2001
  2. Affidavit in Support of John Benjamin Carroll, Esq. sworn to the 11th day of January, 2001 with exhibits annexed
  3. Memorandum of Law in opposition submitted by Dennis M. Acton, Esq. dated February 14, 2001 with exhibits annexed
  4. Reply Affidavit of John Benjamin Carroll, Esq. sworn to the 2nd day of March, 2001 with exhibits annexed