New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RICKENS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-015-383, Claim No. 108292, Motion No. M-67696


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-015-383
Claimant(s):
JASON RICKENS
Claimant short name:
RICKENS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
108292
Motion number(s):
M-67696
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Jason Rickens
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Belinda A. Wagner, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 3, 2004
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant's pre-answer motion to dismiss the claim for lack of jurisdiction is granted. Claimant seeks to recover $10,000,000.00 in damages for personal injuries he sustained on April 21, 2003 at the Washington Correctional Facility, Comstock, New York. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on that date clamant was playing handball in the inmate recreation yard when his right hand came in contact with the razor wire topping of the fence surrounding the yard. Claimant required twenty-one stitches to close the resulting wound. He alleges that he suffered nerve damage to his hand as a result of the injury.

The defendant has moved to dismiss the claim on the ground that the Court lacks jurisdiction in that the claim was not served upon the Attorney General personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Attached to claimant's papers submitted in opposition to the motion are copies of various receipts demonstrating service of a document upon the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested on April 30, 2003. Defense counsel acknowledges that claimant properly served a notice of intention to file a claim which was received by the Attorney General on April 30, 2003 but argues that the claim received on October 15, 2003 (Exhibit A) was not served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. Claimant's opposition to the motion does not address the manner in which the claim was served.

Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) (i) in pertinent part provides that both a notice of intention to file a claim and the claim shall be served "personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested" upon the Attorney General. This statutory requirement conditioning suit must be "strictly construed" (see, Dreger v New York State Thruway Auth., 81 NY2d 721, 724) and the "failure to comply with the statute's certified mail requirement deprives the Court of Claims of subject matter jurisdiction and mandates dismissal (see, Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721, 723)" (Rodriguez v State of New York, 307 AD2d 657).

The defendant has established that the claim was not served in the manner required by Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) (i) and the claim is therefore dismissed. In light of claimant's apparently proper service of a notice of intention he may still serve and file a new claim provided service and filing occurs within two years of the claim's accrual as set forth in Court of Claims Act § 10 (3).


February 3, 2004
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims



The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated November 17, 2003;
  2. Affirmation of Belinda A. Wagner dated November 17, 2003 with exhibit;
  3. "Affirmation" of Jason Rickens sworn to December 1, 2003;
  4. Affirmation of Belinda A. Wagner dated November [sic] 10, 2003.