New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RENELIQUE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-028-061, Claim No. 106334, Motion No. M-65698


Defendant's motion for a more definite statement is granted.

Case Information

GARY RENELIQUE The caption of this action is amended sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only properly named defendant.
Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption of this action is amended sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
BY: Kathleen M. Resnick, Esq. Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 8, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read on Defendant's motion to dismiss the Claim or in the alternative for a more definite statement pursuant to CPLR 3024(a):

1) Notice of Motion and Affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Kathleen M. Resnick (Resnick Affirmation) filed August 23, 2002 with annexed Exhibits A-B;

2) Letter from Gary Renelique (Renelique letter) dated August 29, 2002

3) Reply Letter from Assistant Attorney General Kathleen M. Resnick (Resnick letter)
dated September 9, 2002.

Filed Papers: Claim, filed July 10, 2002

The Defendant seeks dismissal of the Claim by pre-answer motion or in the alternative seeks an order directing a more definite statement pursuant to CPLR 3024(a). In response to the State's motion, Claimant has acknowledged the shortcomings of his submission and has requested additional time to make "proper corrections" (Renelique letter), albeit by withdrawing his Claim and then refiling the Claim. The State has responded that it does not object to Claimant's requests, and in doing so has suggested that the Court consider its motion on the basis of Claimant's letter.

Pursuant to CPLR 3013, "[s]tatements in a pleading shall be sufficiently particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of action or defense."

The principal purpose of a pleading, particularly a claim or complaint, is to provide notice, to advise the opposing party of the claim (Foley v D'Agostino, 21 AD2d 60). Conclusory

allegations alone are insufficient to meet the pleading requirements of either CPLR 3013 (Goldberg v Sitomer, Sitomer & Porges, 63 NY2d 831, cert denied, 470 US 1028; Dibble v Board of Coop. Educational Servs., Allegany County, 103 AD2d 1026; Spallina v Giannoccaro, 98 AD2d 103) or Court of Claims Act § 11 (b) (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, Patterson v State of New York, 54 AD2d 147).

As to form, pleadings are to "consist of plain and concise statements in consecutively numbered paragraphs" with each paragraph containing a single allegation "as far as practicable" (CPLR 3014). Separate causes of action or defenses are to be stated separately. CPLR 3024 provides that "[i]f a pleading is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a response," that party may move for a more definite statement. A document that was described as "a confusing discourse of conclusory allegations with cross-references to voluminous documents" was held not to state a viable cause of action (Hodge v State of New York, 213 AD2d 766,768).

Upon review of the filed papers, the Court shares Defendant's difficulty in reading, let alone understanding Claimant's pages of handwritten and single spaced papers. The Court can not discern whether the words on the paper state a cause of action or whether some or all of the causes of action are time barred. Because, however, Claimant is prosecuting this action pro se, and he has acknowledged the problem exists, he will be permitted one attempt to properly plead his claim.

Claimant is put on notice that the Court expects a clear, concise document that complies with the rules regarding content and form as are set out above.

Defendant's motion is granted insofar as it seeks a more definite statement and, otherwise, denied. Claimant is directed to file an amended claim that complies in both substance and form with the statutory rules of pleading (i.e., CPLR 3013, 3014, 3024, 3025) within sixty (60) days of the date this decision and order is file-stamped.

November 8, 2002
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims