New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CUNNINGHAM v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-028-525, Claim No. 108759, Motion No. M-68081


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-028-525
Claimant(s):
SUZANNE CUNNINGHAM
Claimant short name:
CUNNINGHAM
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
108759
Motion number(s):
M-68081
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant's attorney:
SUZANNE CUNNINGHAM, pro se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Michael C. RizzoAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 28, 2004
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read on Defendant's motion to dismiss the Claim:
1) Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support of Assistant Attorney General Michael C. Rizzo (Rizzo Affidavit) with annexed Exhibit A, filed February 11, 2004;

2) Opposition - NONE[1].


Filed Papers: Claim filed January 12, 2004.

Since 1972, Claimant has been employed in the public sector. She worked for 11 years in a part time - five day a week capacity (Claim ¶2). In anticipation of her retirement, Claimant received an estimate of her benefits from the retirement system which she disputes. Claimant does not seek money damages but seeks to be credited with 30 years of employment (id.). Defendant has timely moved by pre-answer motion to dismiss the Claim asserting the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the calculation of retirement benefits and credits and that review of the Comptroller's determinations are made exclusively by an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court.

The jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is generally limited to awarding money damages in claims against the State and other entities specified by statute for appropriation of real or personal property, tort or breach of contract (see Court of Claims Act §§ 9, 10, 11). Whether the Court of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction to entertain a particular claim depends upon "the actual issues presented," not on how a claimant characterizes the action in a claim or motion papers (Sidoti v State of New York, 115 AD2d 202, 203). Here, Claimant is specifically seeking a recalculation of service credits.

Under §§74 and 374 of the Retirement and Social Security Law, the Comptroller has the exclusive authority to determine applications for retirement benefits (see Retirement and Social Security Law § 74 and § 374 [b]); Matter of Poormon v Regan, 134 AD2d 659) and review is by resort to an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court. In Young v State of New York, Judge Collins determined that a claimant's exclusive remedy to challenge the computation of an early retirement incentive was an Article 78 proceeding, a form of relief beyond the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims (Young v State of New York, 179 Misc 2d 879, 883). The Court finds no authority to bring the calculation by the Comptroller of Claimant's years of service within the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims.

Accordingly, and for the foregoing reasons, the Defendant's motion is granted and Claim No. 108759 is dismissed in its entirety.

April 28, 2004
Albany, New York

HON. RICHARD E. SISE
Judge of the Court of Claims





[1] At Claimant's request, the Court adjourned the return date of the motion from March 17, 2004 to April 7, 2004 to permit Claimant additional time to respond to the motion.