New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ROTH v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-030-530, Claim No. 107198, Motion No. M-66392


Synopsis


Defendant's motion to dismiss claim alleging wrongful acts by Town Justice and Justice Court personnel granted. Town employees not State agents, therefore Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction over the subject of the claim.

Case Information

UID:
2003-030-530
Claimant(s):
DONALD ROTH, JR.
Claimant short name:
ROTH
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107198
Motion number(s):
M-66392
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney:
DONALD ROTH, JR., ESQ., PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERALBY: MARY B. KAVANEY, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 4, 2003
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 3, were read on Defendant's motion to dismiss


Claim Number 107198 for a lack of jurisdiction over the subject of the claim, timely submitted in


lieu of an answer:

1,2 Notice of Motion, Affirmation of Mary B. Kavaney, Assistant Attorney General, and accompanying exhibit

  1. Filed papers: Claim

Opposition: None


After carefully reviewing the papers submitted and the applicable law the motion is disposed of as follows:

Donald Roth, Jr., the Claimant herein and an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York, alleges in Claim Number 107198 that personnel of the Town of Hyde Park Justice Court - including its Town Justice - have wrongfully withheld bail monies deposited by Claimant. The criminal matter for which bail had been posted on behalf of Claimant's former client was disposed of on or about December 17, 2002. He alleges that by virtue of their membership in the Unified Court System, the personnel of the Town of Hyde Park Justice Court are Defendant's agents.

The State of New York has waived its immunity from liability and has conferred jurisdiction upon the Court of Claims to hear claims for damages caused by the "torts of its officers and employees while acting as such officers and employees..." Court of Claims Act §§8 and 9(2). A town or village justice, and the employees of a town or village court, are town officers and employees of the town they serve. Cunningham v Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 125 AD2d 950 (4th Dept 1986); See,Town Law §20(1); Judiciary Law §39(1) and (6); Public Officers Law §18.[1]

Accordingly, this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain this claim. Motion number M-66392 is hereby granted and Claim Number 107198 is therefore dismissed in its entirety.


April 4, 2003
White Plains, New York

HON. THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] While County Court Judges, Supreme Court Justices, and City Court Judges are State officers for whose conduct the State may be liable under some limited circumstances [See, Mullen v State of New York, 122 AD2d 300,301 (3d Dept 1986), app denied, 68 NY2d 609 (1986), cert denied, 480 US 938 (1987)], the same is simply not true for town or village justices. See, also, Public Officers Law §17, and Exhibit "1", Affirmation of Assistant Attorney General.