New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ORECKINTO v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-031-502, Claim No. 105929


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-031-502
Claimant(s):
ANDREW ORECKINTO Caption amended sua sponte to show the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
ORECKINTO
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Caption amended sua sponte to show the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105929
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
ANDREW ORECKINTO, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: REYNOLDS E. HAHN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 29, 2004
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Andrew Oreckinto ("Claimant") filed Claim Number 105929 on April 18, 2002, stating that the Defendant lost and/or damaged certain items of his personal property. I held a trial on this matter on September 8, 2003 at Wyoming Correctional Facility ("Wyoming").

Claimant testified that on February 14, 2002, while being transferred from Wyoming to Orleans Correctional Facility ("Orleans"), his property was damaged by correction officers. He believed that this damage resulted from the intentional retaliation of Wyoming Correction Officers for his having filed a grievance. He testified, quite convincingly, that his property was damaged at some point in time between being packed at Wyoming and its arrival at Orleans. Claimant was very candid and straightforward in his testimony and I found him to be a very credible witness.

However, at the close of Claimant's case, the Assistant Attorney General moved to dismiss the claim on the grounds that Claimant failed to serve the claim upon the Attorney General's Office by certified mail, return receipt requested. Claimant admitted on cross-examination that he mailed the Attorney General's copy of the claim to the Court of Claims Clerk's Office and, on a Post-it note, requested that the Chief Clerk forward the claim to the Attorney General's Office.

Court of Claims Act § 11(a) provides, in relevant part, that a copy of the claim "shall be served upon the attorney general . . . either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested . . ." The requirements set forth in Court of Claims Act § 11 are jurisdictional in nature and, as such, must be strictly construed (
see Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721, 722; Commack Self-Serv. Kosher Meats v State of New York, 270 AD2d 687). The Court is not free to disregard this requirement. "[D]iscretion, equity, or a harsh result may not temper application of a rule of law" (Martin v State of New York, 185 Misc 2d 799, 804).
Defendant has adequately demonstrated that service upon the Attorney General was effected by regular mail, not certified mail, return receipt requested. Despite the meritorious nature of the claim, I am constrained to dismiss Claimant's case for lack of jurisdiction.[1]

Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, Defendant's motion for dismissal of the claim is granted and the claim is dismissed. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.

January 29, 2004
Rochester, New York
HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]I note that this affirmative defense was pled in Defendant's answer but not raised until the close of Claimant's case at the trial.