New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MAHBUB v. THE CITY OF NEW YORK AT HERBERT H. LEHMAN COLLEGE, #2002-016-075, Claim No. 103317, Motion No. M-64705


Claim dismissed as failing to comply with the specificity requirements of §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:
Wittenstein & WittensteinBy: Alyce B. Wittenstein
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Leslie A. Stroth, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 30, 2002
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is defendant's motion to dismiss the claim of Sadique Mahbub on the grounds that: (1) the claim fails to comply with the specificity requirements of §11 of the Court of Claims Act (the "Act"); and (2) the notice of intention served on CUNY was different than that served on the Attorney General. In the underlying claim, it is alleged that Mr. Mahbub, a student at Lehman College was injured by a window at the school. 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." See Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623, 625, 622 NYS2d 177, 178 (Ct Cl 1994) (citation omitted) in which it was stated that "[t]he claim must plead the facts relied upon to sustain a recovery. In addition it must set forth a valid cause of action . . ." 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.

Defendant argues that for the purposes of §11 of the Act, the claim is not specific enough in terms of its statement of the nature of the claim or as to time and place. As to the nature of the claim, it is stated that:
. . . for a long time prior [to the accident], the defendants negligently permitted certain window within the premises of said college, specifically in a classroom thereat, to be broken and/or faulty and negligently contrived rendering said classroom unsafe for pupils attending said school . . . That on or about the 8th day of September, 1999, while plaintiff . . . was attending a lecture in and about the said classroom of said school where he was a pupil, and without any fault or negligence of his part, he was injured by said window causing serious, painful and permanent injuries . . ."

Claim, ¶¶5-6. No information is provided as to how the window was defective or how claimant was injured. For example, was a pane broken? Was the mechanism that opens (or closes) the window faulty?

The claim is also lacking as to time and place. It states that the accident occurred "[o]n or about the 8th day of September, 1999." Aside from the lack of a concrete date, no time of day is provided. While the statute does not read "time and date," the use of the word "time" would seem to necessarily comprehend such. As to place, the claim states only that it occurred in a classroom at Lehman College, and gives an address for which it is unclear whether such is the official address for the college or that of a particular building. Nor is any classroom number or other identifying information is provided.

"Conclusory or general allegations . . . that fail to adduce the manner in which the claimant was injured . . . 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 points out that more detailed information as to the accident is available to defendant as to the nature of the accident, such as an incident report and the knowledge of a professor who witnessed the accident. However, where jurisdiction is implicated, defendant is not required to go beyond the four corners of the claim to ascertain information which should have been provided in the claim itself. See, e.g., 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, I find that Mahbub's claim does not satisfy §11 of the Act and this Court thus lacks jurisdiction. The remaining ground for defendant's motion need not be addressed. For the foregoing reasons, having reviewed the parties' submissions[1], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-64705 be granted and claim no. 103317 be dismissed.

July 30, 2002
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]The following were reviewed: defendant's notice of motion with affirmation in support and exhibits A-D; and claimant's affirmation in opposition.