New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROWN v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-018-176, Claim No. 106212, Motion Nos. M-65428, CM-65508


Synopsis


Defendant's pre-answer motion to dismiss is granted, claimant's cross-motion to "amend the Notice of Claim" is denied. Original claim failed to comply with statutory requirements.

Case Information

UID:
2002-018-176
Claimant(s):
LUTHER BROWN
Claimant short name:
BROWN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106212
Motion number(s):
M-65428
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-65508
Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant's attorney:
ALFRED P. KREMER, ESQUIRE
Defendant's attorney:
ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
By: G. LAWRENCE DILLON, ESQUIRE Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 31, 2002
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Defendant brings a pre-answer motion to dismiss the claim. Claimant cross-moves for


an order permitting claimant to amend his "Notice of Claim."

The claim asserts in pertinent part,
"3. On February 8, 2002, at 4:35 p.m. deponent was showering
at the Oneida Correctional Facility in Building #19, Floor U,

6100 School Road, Rome, New York 13440.

4. He fell reinjuring [sic] his right hand which he had previously
injured as well as his back which now cause him spasms.


5. Claimant reported this to the Correction Officer whose name

is unknown to claimant at this point.


6. Upon information and belief, other people may have also fallen

in this shower room at this facility.


7. Upon information and belief a witness to the fall was the

same Correction Officer.


8. As a consequence of the foregoing, claimant is suffering great

pain and will need medical attention."


It appears that the claim was personally served upon the Attorney General on April 24, 2002. The claim however was not filed until June 13, 2002. Defendant served and filed this pre-answer motion to dismiss the claim on May 24, 2002. On June 18, 2002, claimant served an "Amended Notice of Claim" and filed the same on June 24, 2002. Defendant returned the amended claim to claimant asserting that it was untimely pursuant to CPLR 3025.

It is defendant's position in bringing this motion that the claim fails to state a cause of action in that it does not provide any indication of how the State was negligent or otherwise should be held liable for claimant's fall in the shower as required by Court of Claims Act §11(b). Claimant asserts that permission should be granted to allow him to amend his claim in accordance with CPLR 3025. It is asserted that there is no prejudice to the defendant.

Court of Claims Act §11(b) requires that a claim 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." "What is required is not absolute exactness, but simply a statement made with sufficient definiteness to enable the State to be able to investigate the claim promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances" (
Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767). The claim adequately sets forth the time and place where the claim accrued; however, it provides no indication as to why the State should be held liable for claimant's fall. A description of the defendant's alleged culpable conduct is a necessary component to adequately describe the nature of the claim (Court of Claims Act §11(b); Patterson v State of New York, 54 AD2d 147, affd 45 NY2d 885). The claim does not comply with the requirements of Court of Claims Act §11(b) (See, Grumet v State of New York, 256 AD2d 441).
The requirements in Court of Claims Act §§10 and 11 for commencing an action against the State are jurisdictional in nature and must be strictly construed (Dreger v New York State Thruway Authority, 81 NY2d 721, 724). The failure of this claim to meet the requirements of Court of Claims Act §11(b) results in it being jurisdictionally defective.
Where the original claim fails to comply with the statutory requirements for commencement of an action against the State, the Court is divested of jurisdiction and the claim cannot be amended as of right or with permission so as to cure the jurisdictional defect (
Grande v State of New York, 160 Misc 2d 383, 385).
Accordingly, Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED and claimant's cross-motion for permission to amend his claim is DENIED.


October 31, 2002
Syracuse, New York
HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following documents in deciding these motions:

Notice of Motion............................................................................................1

Affirmation of G. Lawrence Dillon, Esquire, Assistant Attorney

General, in support..............................................................................2


Notice of Cross-Motion...................................................................................3


Affirmation of Alfred P. Kremer, Esquire, in support of cross motion...........4


Filed Documents:


Notice of Claim.................................................................................................5


Amended Notice of Claim.................................................................................6