New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SOLOMON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-013-020, Claim No. 105328, Motion No. M-64643


Synopsis


The Court does not have jurisdiction to hear actions commenced against community colleges organized pursuant to Education Law Article 126.

Case Information

UID:
2002-013-020
Claimant(s):
REGINALD SOLOMON
Claimant short name:
SOLOMON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105328
Motion number(s):
M-64643
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
PHILIP J. PATTI
Claimant's attorney:
BAUM & KUNKIS, P. C.BY: ROGER M. KUNKIS, ESQ.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
BY: JAMES L. GELORMINI, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 15, 2002
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision



On April 17, 2002, the following papers were read on Defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim:
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affirmation of James L. Gelormini, Esq. ("Gelormini Affirmation")

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Roger M. Kunkis, Esq. ("Kunkis Affirmation")


3. Filed Papers: Claim

This claim is based on allegations that in September 2001 Claimant was injured by a defective leg press weight machine in the weight room of Finger Lakes Community College located in Canandaigua, New York. Defendant has moved for summary judgment dismissing the claim on the ground that this Court does not have jurisdiction to hear claims against community colleges that are organized and operated pursuant to Article 126 of the Education Law.

In opposing the motion, Claimant relies on one case, Butterfield v Board of Trustees of Schenectady County Community Coll. (131 AD2d 963), pointing out that in that decision it was held that a "notice of claim" should have been served against the community college. The decision, however, refers to the "notice of claim" that is required to be served in actions against municipalities pursuant to General Municipal Law §50-e, not the "claim" that is used to commence a proceeding in the Court of Claims (Court of Claims Act §11[a]). As noted in Butterfield (supra), community colleges organized under Education Law §6301(3) and §6302 are established by "local sponsors" who are under a statutory obligation to indemnify the college's board of trustees if they are found liable in actions brought against them (Education Law §6308). The local sponsor, therefore, is the real party in interest, even if the college itself is the named defendant, and pleading requirements applicable to claims against that local sponsor must be met.

Community colleges such as the North Country Community College are not a part of the State University of New York Corporation (Brown v North Country Community Coll., 63 Misc 2d 442), nor is the State of New York the "local sponsor" of the Community College of the Finger Lakes.[1] Consequently, the State is not a proper defendant in an action commenced against the college (Amato v State of New York, 131 Misc 2d 1049), and the Court of Claims is not a proper forum for such suits ( Brown v North Country Community Coll., supra).

Defendant's motion is granted and Claim No. 105328 is dismissed.


May 15, 2002
Rochester, New York

HON. PHILIP J. PATTI
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] Although the local sponsor is not identified in the papers before me, other sources indicate that it is Ontario County (Lazar v County of Ontario, 221 AD2d 916).