New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LEWIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-033-096, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-68818


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Rappaport, Glass, Greene & Levine, LLPBy: Michael G. Glass, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney GeneralBy: Todd A. Schall, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
December 10, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a motion by Sean T. Lewis (hereinafter "movant") to ask this Court to deem his notice of intention to be a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act §10(8)[1]. The claim of Maryann Lewis is derivative in nature.

On June 9, 2002, at approximately 6:45 p.m., movant was involved in a three car motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and State Route 454, Ronkonkoma, New York. Movant alleges that the State of New York (hereinafter "State") was negligent in the operation, maintenance and control of the traffic light at the intersection. Movant contends that as he was traveling eastbound that he and opposing traffic had a green light at the same time.

On August 26, 2002, movant served a notice of intention by personal service upon an Assistant Attorney General (Movant's Exhibit B). The State does not contest that it was served with the notice of intention.

Court of Claims Act §10(8)(a) states:
A claimant who timely serves a notice of intention but who fails to timely serve or file a claim may, nevertheless, apply to the court for permission to treat the notice of intention as a claim. The court shall not grant such application unless: it is made upon motion before an action asserting a like claim against a citizen of the state would be barred under the provisions of article two of the civil practice law and rules; the notice of intention was timely served, and contains facts sufficient to constitute a claim; and the granting of the application would not prejudice the defendant.

The State opposes the motion as if it were a motion for a late claim, pursuant to Court of Claims Act §10(6). The State offers no opposition to the grounds enumerated under §10(8)(a).

The requirements of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional in nature and must be strictly construed (Lurie v State of New York, 73 AD2d 1006, aff'd 52 NY2d 849). The purpose of these requirements is to give the State prompt notice of an occurrence and an opportunity to investigate the facts and prepare a defense. There must be sufficient detail to enable the State to investigate (Schwartzberg v State of New York, 121 Misc 2d 1095, aff'd 98 AD2d 902). Pursuant to the Court of Claims Act, a claim must include the time when and place where the claim arose, the nature of the claim, items of damage or injuries sustained as well as the total sum claimed.

While movant has met most of the requirements of Court of Claims Act §10(8)(a), the notice of intention is insufficient because the notice of intention fails to adequately describe movant's injuries. The phrase "severe bodily injuries" is used to describe movant's injuries. This description does not meet the requirements of Court of Claims Act §11 (See Artale v State of New York, 140 AD2d 919).

Based on the foregoing, movants' motion is denied.

December 10, 2004
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]The following papers have been read and considered on movants' motion: Notice of Motion dated July 19, 2004 and filed July 21, 2004; Affirmation of Michael G. Glass, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-C dated July 19, 2004 and filed July 21, 2004; Memorandum of Law of Michael G. Glass, Esq. dated July 19, 2004 and received July 21, 2004; Affirmation in Opposition of Todd A. Schall, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-B dated September 13, 2004 and filed September 16, 2004; Reply Affirmation of Michael G. Glass, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-B dated October 5, 2004 and filed October 8, 2004.