New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CLINKSCALES v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-019-535, Claim No. 104283, Motion No. M-65062


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for an order striking the State's affirmative defenses as scandalous and prejudicial pursuant to CPLR 3024, as well as request for jury is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2002-019-535
Claimant(s):
JOHN CLINKSCALES
Claimant short name:
CLINKSCALES
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104283
Motion number(s):
M-65062
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
JOHN CLINKSCALES, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: LEVENE, GOULDIN & THOMPSON, LLPDonald M. Flanagan, Esq., of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 3, 2002
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, moves for an order striking the State's affirmative defenses as scandalous and prejudicial pursuant to CPLR 3024 (b), as well as an order seeking a jury trial in the Court of Claims. The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes the motion.


The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
  1. Claim, filed May 15, 2001.
  2. Verified Answer, filed June 18, 2001.
  3. Notice of Motion No. M-65062, filed April 9, 2002.
  4. Affidavit of John Clinkscales, in support of motion, sworn to March 28, 2002, with attachments.
  5. Amended Verified Answer, dated April 15, 2002, and filed May 6, 2002.
  6. Affirmation of Donald M. Flanagan, Esq., in opposition to motion, dated May 3, 2002, and filed May 6, 2002.
This underlying Claim relates to an automobile accident which occurred while Claimant, an inmate, was being transferred between correctional facilities on December 15, 2000. Claimant alleges that a Notice of Intention was served on the State on March 2, 2001. The Claim was served on the Attorney General's office on May 8, 2001, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and was filed in the Office of the Clerk on May 15, 2001. The State filed a Verified Answer on June 18, 2001 containing two affirmative defenses. The State filed an Amended Verified Answer on May 6, 2002 in order to correct a typographical error with respect to a cited section of the Insurance Law in its second affirmative defense. In all other respects the State's affirmative defenses remained the same and, as such, the Court will refer solely to the State's Amended Verified Answer. By way of this motion, Claimant seeks an order: (1) striking said affirmative defenses as scandalous and prejudicial; and (2) directing a jury trial. Both facets of Claimant's motion must be denied for the reasons stated below.


First and quite simply, there is no right to a jury trial in the Court of Claims. (Court of Claims Act 12 [3]; Graham v Stillman, 100 AD2d 893). As such, that portion of Claimant's motion is denied.


Claimant also moves for an order striking the third, fourth and fifth paragraphs contained in the State's Amended Verified Answer, namely the State's affirmative defenses, pursuant to CPLR 3024. CPLR 3024 (b) states that "[a] party may move to strike any scandalous or prejudicial matter unnecessarily inserted in a pleading." The affirmative defenses at issue here are standard including allegations of Claimant's culpable conduct and failure to satisfy the serious injury threshold of Insurance Law 5102 (d) and, as such, are not unnecessary in any capacity. The fact that Claimant may be offended at the suggestion of culpability on his part is without consequence. The State properly included these affirmative defenses in its Amended Verified Answer. (CPLR 3018 [b]).


Consequently, for the reasons stated above, it is ORDERED that Claimant's motion, Motion No. M-65062 is DENIED.



June 3, 2002
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims