New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SHAPPAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK [and] HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST, #2004-030-905, Claim No. 108401, Motion No. M-67601


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-030-905
Claimant(s):
USAMA SHAPPAN, MYAR CORP I
Claimant short name:
SHAPPAN
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK [and] HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
108401
Motion number(s):
M-67601
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney:
Robert T. Iannucci, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney Generalby Grace Brannigan and Susan Pogoda, Assistant Attorneys General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 25, 2004
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant[1]
was allegedly injured on July 13, 2003 when, while he was participating in a recreational soccer game at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park, he allegedly collided with several other players as the result of a depression in the field.
Although defendant originally moved to dismiss on two separate grounds – that the claim was served and filed late and that the Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over the Hudson River Park Trust – defendant conceded that the claim was timely served and filed and the motion proceeded on the subject matter jurisdiction issue.

The Hudson River Park Trust is the creation of the Hudson River Park Act (chapter 592 of the Laws of 1998; McKinney's 1998 Session Laws, 1279-1292). Section 11 of that act provides that a condition precedent to any tort action against the Trust is compliance with the relevant provisions of the General Municipal Law.

"Where the State Legislature has decided to confer on the Court of Claims jurisdiction over public authorities, it has done so specifically by statute; the absence of such a provision in the enabling legislation indicates that jurisdiction lies with courts of general jurisdiction (
see Cole v State of New York, 64 AD2d 1023, 1024)" (Gembala v Audobon Assn., 97 AD2d 345, 346). Moreover, the incorporation of the procedures and time periods set forth in the General Municipal Law, which are wholly distinct from the requirements of the Court of Claims Act, "is further evidence that the Supreme Court is the proper forum (see Pandolph v State of New York, 155 Misc 2d 612; see e.g. Burgess v Long Is. R. R. Auth., 79 NY2d 777)" (Hampton v State of New York, 168 Misc 2d 1036, 1037).
Accordingly, this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over tort claims against the Hudson River Park Trust, the entity that operates the park in question. Additionally, claimant has provided no basis for concluding that he has a cause of action against the State of New York, separate from his cause of action against the Trust, based on the State's financing of the park and its concomitant duty to audit the Trust's contracts, including maintenance contracts. Based on the papers before the court, the sole proper defendant with respect to claimant's allegation that he was injured due to negligent maintenance of the soccer field is the Trust.

Defendant's motion to dismiss is granted based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the Hudson River Trust and failure to state a cause of action against the State of New York. The claim is dismissed, without prejudice to whatever remedy claimant may wish to pursue against the Trust in Supreme Court.

February 25, 2004
White Plains, New York

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





[1]The claim was brought by Usama Shappan and a corporate entity known as Myar Corp I. Usama Shappan verified the claim as individual claimant and as "CEO" of the corporation. Nowhere in the claim is it explained how a personal injury claim can be brought by a corporation as well as by the individual who was allegedly injured. In any event, references herein to "claimant" are to Mr. Shappan.