New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GLOVER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-015-167, Claim No. 104025, Motion Nos. M-63359, CM-63417


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for summary judgment denied and defendant's cross-motion to dismiss the claim granted on grounds that claim is untimely and fails to state a cause of action based upon the alleged failure of a licensed motor vehicle repair facility to properly claimant's vehicles.

Case Information

UID:
2001-015-167
Claimant(s):
SEAN M. GLOVER The caption of this claim was amended sua sponte by order of this Court dated May 23, 2001 to name the only properly named defendant.
Claimant short name:
GLOVER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption of this claim was amended sua sponte by order of this Court dated May 23, 2001 to name the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104025
Motion number(s):
M-63359
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-63417
Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Sean M. Glover, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 25, 2001
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Claimant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212 seeking a money judgment in the amount of $555.00 against the defendant is denied and the defendant's cross-motion to dismiss the claim is granted. The instant claim filed March 27, 2001 arose out of the claimant's dissatisfaction with motor vehicle repairs performed upon his vehicle during the period August 9-13, 1999 by Motor Vehicle Repair Shop #3140217, registered by the State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) pursuant to article 12-A of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Claimant apparently reported his dissatisfaction with the repairs to DMV. The department, after investigation of the complaint, issued an official warning letter to the facility and advised the claimant of that action by letter dated January 12, 2000. The letter concluded with the words "[i]f you have new or additional information which would affect the disposition of this case, you may submit it in writing, along with the facility number and case number printed above." The letter was signed by Henry Ashline, Regional Director of DMV, Division of Vehicle Safety Services. It appears that the claimant failed to realize that the warning letter issued by DMV to the repair facility was the end result of DMV's investigation of claimant's complaint rather than the initiation of a formal license suspension or revocation proceeding.

By notice of motion and an attached unsworn document entitled "Motion for Summary Judgment" dated April 8, 2001 claimant now moves for judgment on the claim asserting liability premised upon the inaction of the DMV with respect to his complaint

The defendant has cross-moved to dismiss the claim on the ground, inter alia, that this Court lacks jurisdiction since the claim was untimely filed. The defendant argues that if the cross-motion to dismiss is denied claimant's summary judgment motion should be denied as premature since the claim is in its infancy and no discovery has yet occurred.

Claimant's motion is procedurally defective since it lacks a supporting affidavit (see, Civil Practice Law and Rules, Rule 3212 (b)) and fails to specify the nature of the relief sought on the motion. "In order to award summary judgment, a court must find that the movant has established its claim sufficiently to warrant the court as a matter of law to direct judgment in its favor (CPLR 3212[b]), that there are no material triable issues of fact, and that the proof is tendered in admissible form (see, e.g., Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557; Naughton v Mueller, 203 AD2d 341)" (Brookhaven, Town of v FPD Tavern Corp., 226 AD2d 625, 626). Claimant's proof on this motion fails to meet this standard even if the Court were to consider his verified claim as an affidavit in support of the motion[1] (see, CPLR § 105 [u]). Judgment as a matter of law in the claimant's favor must be denied.

Defendant on the cross- motion has alleged that this Court lacks jurisdiction as the claimant did not timely file the claim and the claim seeks equitable relief only available through an article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court pursuant to CPLR § 7801, et seq.

The claim on its face alleges that it accrued on the 8th day of March 2001 which, interestingly, is the date the claim was verified. There are no factual allegations contained in the claim which tend to establish that the State of New York, its employees, officers or agents engaged in any conduct on the alleged accrual date which might form the basis of liability. An examination of paragraph "2" of the claim indicates that claimant's alleged dissatisfaction with the repair facility occurred between August 9, 1999 and August 13, 1999, dates considerably removed from the alleged accrual date of March 8, 2001. That same paragraph further indicates that claimant was notified of the department's disposition of his complaint, i.e., the issuance of a warning letter to the facility, by letter dated January 12, 2000.

Claimant apparently misinterpreted the January 12, 2000 letter as suggesting that further action would be taken against the facility by DMV and surmised that he might reasonably expect a refund of his payment for the alleged unsatisfactory repair work. He now apparently seeks to recover the amount paid for the repairs from DMV on the ground that it is somehow liable for the actions or inactions of the licensed repair facility. Claimant has cited no statutory or case law authority supporting the imposition of liability against the State on that basis. Moreover, except for an oblique reference to DMV's alleged failure "to issue a subpoena for the information required to complete the invoice as prescribed by law" contained in paragraph "2" of the verified claim it is silent as to the nature of the claim or the alleged basis of liability. Even if the Court were to liberally interpret the above quoted language as describing some otherwise unspecified obligation on the part of DMV to issue a subpoena it cannot be found that the State's failure to do so would subject the State to liability for the cost of claimant's repairs.

The defendant's motion to dismiss the claim as untimely is granted. In addition, the claim fails to state a cause of action against the State of New York (see, Longariello v Getty, 207 AD2d 870) requiring dismissal.

Subsequent to the filing of the instant motion for summary judgment claimant filed a "First Amended Pleading" on April 25, 2001. Since, however, a jurisdictionally defective claim may not be amended to cure the jurisdictional defects the Court, on its own motion, hereby dismisses the first amended pleading as well as the original claim (see, Grande v State of New York, 160 Misc 2d 383).


July 25, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated April 9, 2001;
  2. Unsworn statement of Sean M. Glover dated April 8, 2001 with exhibits;
  1. Notice of cross- motion dated April 24, 2001;
  2. Affirmation of Saul Aronson dated April 24, 2001 with exhibits;
  3. First amended pleading unsigned and dated April 25, 2001

[1]Claimant's failure to attach copies of the pleadings to his motion papers as required by CPLR, Rule 3212 (b) would not be dispositive as the pleadings were provided on the defendant's cross-motion and because this is a filing Court and the pleadings were available to the Court.