New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HIGBIE COLLISION v. STATE OF NEW YORK, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, #2001-016-062, Claim No. 103086, Motion No. M-63351


Breach of contract claim was dismissed on the grounds that it failed to comply with §11 of the Court of Claims Act.

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):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Lite & RussellBy: Justin N. Lite, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Alan B. Berkowitz, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 1, 2001
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is defendant's motion to dismiss the claim of Higbie Collision, Inc., which alleges breach of contract. The grounds for defendant's motion are that the claim was not timely commenced and that it fails to set forth facts beyond conclusory allegations such that it is possible for the state to defend the claim. Section 11(b) of the Act provides that a "claim shall state the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same, and the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and the total sum claimed." "The claim must plead the facts relied upon to sustain a recovery. In addition it must set forth a valid cause of action . . ." Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623, 625, 622 NYS2d 177, 178 (Ct Cl 1994) (citation omitted). The purpose of §11 of the Act "is to give the State prompt notice of an occurrence and an opportunity to investigate the facts . . ." Id., 163 Misc 2d at 626, 622 NYS2d at 179.

In this case, the claim states that it is for "breach of the bid IFB(Proposal) Number-BA097 for the area identified as ‘Region 10' which was awarded to the Claimant" and that "[o]n or after January, 1997 and [continuing] to date[,] Claimant has been precluded from rendering tow services on the Robert Moses Bridge . . ." Aside from a description of the hours and pricing under which claimant was allegedly authorized to provide towing, no information has been provided as to the terms of the Contract, or how it is that defendant allegedly breached it. "Conclusory or general allegations . . . that fail to adduce the manner in which the claimant was injured and how the State was negligent do not meet [the] requirements [of §11 of the Act]." Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 767-68, 433 NYS2d 646, 648 (4th Dept 1980).

Claimant argues that prior to filing the claim, discussions were held with the New York State Department of Transportation, which would have made defendant "fully apprised of the nature of the claim." However, where jurisdiction is implicated, a defendant is not required to look beyond the four corners of the claim to determine the essential facts. See, for example, Schneider v State of New York, Ct Cl filed 9/14/95, Silverman J. (unreported, claim no. 91422, motion no. M-51856, cross-motion no. CM-52045). In short, claimant's allegations are conclusory and general and fail to meet the requirements of §11 of the Act and the remaining ground for defendant's motion need not be reached.

Finally, claimant's opposition papers refer to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act, which permits the filing of a late claim under certain circumstances. As claimant has not filed a notice of motion with regard to a late claim and since no such motion is pending at this time, it is not the subject of this order. Nothing herein shall preclude the making of such a motion at a later date, subject to all relevant timing and other requirements of the Court of Claims Act.

In view of the foregoing, having reviewed the parties' submissions,[1] IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-63351 is granted and claim no. 103086 is dismissed.

August 1, 2001
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]Along with the pleadings, the following were reviewed: defendant's notice of motion with affirmation in support and exhibits A-B; and claimant's affirmation in opposition.