New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MORAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-009-07, Claim No. 106923, Motion Nos. M-66136, CM-66140


Synopsis


Defendant's motion to dismiss causes of action based upon specific alleged violations of Labor Law was granted, as such provisions are not applicable to claims brought by inmates who have been injured in a correctional facility. Claimant's cross-motion to amend his claim was denied as moot, since an amended claim had been served and filed in accordance with § 206.7(b) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims.

Case Information

UID:
2003-009-07
Claimant(s):
CHARLES MORAN The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Claimant short name:
MORAN
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106923
Motion number(s):
M-66136
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-66140
Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY, JR.
Claimant's attorney:
THE ROTHSCHILD LAW FIRM, P.C.
BY: Martin J. Rothschild, Esq.,Of Counsel.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Timothy P. Mulvey, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney GeneralOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 25, 2003
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant has brought a motion (M-66136) to dismiss this claim for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by this Court. Claimant has responded with a cross-motion (CM-66140) seeking permission to serve and file an amended claim.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with these motions:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation, with Exhibits 1,2


Notice of Cross-Motion, Affirmation, with Exhibit (Proposed Amended Claim) 3,4

On October 7, 2002, claimant, at the time proceeding pro se, served a notice of intention to file a claim upon the Attorney General, alleging that he was injured on September 5, 2002 at Watertown Correctional Facility, when he fell from a ladder. On November 13, 2002, claimant, now represented by an attorney, served a claim upon the Attorney General alleging three separate causes of action arising from this incident. The claim was filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims on November 14, 2002.

The three causes of action set forth in the filed claim all allege violations of New York Labor Law, specifically §§ 200, 240, and 241(6). It is well settled, however, that the provisions of the Labor Law relating to worker safety do not apply to claims brought by inmates who have been injured in a correctional facility (D'Argenio v Village of Homer, 202 AD2d 883; Fitzgerald v State of New York, 28 Misc 2d 283). Since this claim only asserts causes of action based upon alleged violations of the Labor Law, the claim is therefore subject to dismissal for failure to state a cause of action.

However, and apparently in response to this motion, claimant served an amended claim, and filed this amended claim with the Clerk of the Court on December 16, 2002. In this amended claim, claimant alleges that the State failed to maintain a safe work site and failed to adequately monitor, supervise and control the claimant's activity, and failed to provide him with proper training. This cause of action, essentially asserting a cause of action under common law negligence based upon premises liability, is sustainable in the Court of Claims. Claimant asserts, in his cross-motion, that this cause of action is merely an expansion, with more detailed allegations, of the first cause of action asserted in his original claim, which was based upon a violation of Labor Law, § 200. The Court notes that Labor Law, § 200 is itself a codification of an owner's common law duty to provide workers with a safe work environment.

In his cross-motion, claimant seeks judicial approval of this previously served and filed amended claim. Section 206.7(b) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims, however, permits pleadings to be amended once without leave of Court within 40 days after service, or at any time before the period for responding to it expires, or within 40 days after service of a responsive pleading. In this matter, both the service and filing of the amended claim were accomplished well within 40 days of service and filing of the original claim. Claimant's application for leave to serve an amended claim is therefore unnecessary.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-66136 is hereby GRANTED, in part, in that any causes of action asserted in the original claim herein specifically based upon alleged violations of Labor Law, §§ 200, 240, and 241(6) are hereby DISMISSED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Cross-Motion No. CM-66140 is hereby DENIED as moot; and it is further

ORDERED, that defendant shall have 40 days from the date of filing of this decision and order to serve and file its answer to the amended claim.


February 25, 2003
Syracuse, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY, JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims