New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MAYBEE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-031-008, , Motion No. M-64447


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim denied for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Case Information

UID:
2002-031-008
Claimant(s):
JEFFREY L. MAYBEE
Claimant short name:
MAYBEE
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):

Motion number(s):
M-64447
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
CELLINO & BARNESBY: DAVID O. TEACH, ESQ.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
BY: WENDY E. MORCIO, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 18, 2002
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Claimant for an order permitting him to file a late claim:
  1. Notice of Motion dated December 11, 2001;
  2. Affidavit of David O. Teach, Esq., sworn to December 11, 2001 and annexed exhibits;
  3. Opposing Affidavit of Wendy Morcio, Esq., sworn to January 29, 2002;
  4. Affidavit of Robert O'Connor, sworn to January 29, 2002.
Upon the foregoing papers, the motion is denied. On May 4, 2001, Claimant was performing construction work on the Peace Bridge for his employer, Union Concrete & Construction Corporation. Claimant apparently fractured several toes when a steel plate fell onto his right foot. Claimant alleges that "upon information and belief, Union Concrete had been engaged by the State of New York and/or the Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority to perform certain construction work on the Peace Bridge." (Proposed Claim paragraph 3). He therefore asserts that Defendant, either as owner of the bridge or as general contractor, is legally responsible for his injuries pursuant to various sections of the Labor Law.

Significantly, Defendant has demonstrated, through the affidavits of Assistant Attorney General Wendy E. Morcio and Robert O'Connor, the Regional Construction Engineer for the Department of Transportation, that Defendant neither owns the Peace Bridge nor was it involved in any project or contract relating to work on the Peace Bridge.

The Peace Bridge is, in fact, owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which took over the assets and liabilities of the Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority in 1967 [see Public Authorities Law §1299-f and -k]. The Court of Claims Act grants this Court jurisdiction over specified actions against the State of New York. Although there are several entities other than the State which are subject to Court of Claims jurisdiction, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is not one of these entities (nor for that matter was its predecessor the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority). In Gembala v Audobon Association, Inc., 97 AD 2d 345, 346, the Court stated:
Where the State Legislature has decided to confer on the Court of Claims jurisdiction over public authorities, it has done so specifically by statute; the absence of such a provision in the enabling legislation indicates that jurisdiction lies with courts of general jurisdiction (see Cole v State of New York, 64 AD2d 1023, 1024).
In this case, Public Authorities Law §1299-p (Actions against the authority) invokes the provisions of General Municipal Law §50-e. This indicates that an action against the Authority must be commenced in Supreme Court (see, Pandolph v State of New York, 155 Misc 2d 612). The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority was created as a legal entity, separate and distinct from the State of New York. Thus, the claim lies, if at all, against the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in Supreme Court and not against the State in the Court of Claims.

Based upon the foregoing, it is:

ORDERED, that Claimant's motion for permission to file a late Claim is denied.

March 18, 2002
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims