New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TOWNSEND v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-015-603, Claim No. 105731


Synopsis


Claim for bailment was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction due to claimant's failure to serve the claim upon the Attorney General.

Case Information

UID:
2004-015-603
Claimant(s):
HOLLIS TOWNSEND
Claimant short name:
TOWNSEND
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105731
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Hollis Townsend, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
December 10, 2004
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

At the trial of this claim at Great Meadow Correctional Facility on November 8, 2004 the defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on the basis that the claimant failed to serve a copy of the claim upon the Attorney General as required by Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) (i). The claim was filed with the Court on March 11, 2002 and assigned claim number 105731. It alleges that the claimant's personal property was lost or stolen while in the possession of the Department of Correctional Services. The claimant failed to oppose the motion in support of which the defendant proffered the affidavit of Janet Barringer, a Senior Clerk in the Albany Office of the Attorney General. In that affidavit Ms. Barringer states:
a. The Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, Claims Practice Group received a letter from the Court of Claims dated March 26, 2002 acknowledging receipt by the Court on March 11, 2002 of a Claim of Hollis Townsend against State of New York. This was given the reference number: OAG # 02-005632-O. A copy of this document is attached as Exhibit "A".

4. Based on my review of the files in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, Claims Practice Group, I find no record that the Claim in this matter was ever served on the Attorney General.

It is well established that the service and filing requirements of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional in nature. In Lichtenstein v State of New York, 93 NY2d 911, the Court of Appeals, quoting from its earlier decision in Dreger v New York State Thruway Auth., 81 NY2d 721, 724, stated: "[B]ecause suits against the State are allowed only by the State's waiver of sovereign immunity and in derogation of the common law, statutory requirements conditioning suit must be strictly construed."

The defendant has established that the claimant failed to serve a copy of the claim herein upon the Attorney General as required by Court of Claims Act § 11. Accordingly, the claim must be dismissed as the claimant has failed to meet the literal requirements of the Court of Claims Act relative to commencement of an action against the State of New York in the Court of Claims (Dreger v New York State Thruway Auth., supra, at 723).



December 10, 2004
Saratoga Springs, New York

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