New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HARRIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-009-007, Claim No. 109335, Motion No. M-69403


Synopsis


Claimant's motion to dismiss defendant's affirmative defenses was granted, but that aspect of the motion seeking an order striking defendant's Answer was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2005-009-007
Claimant(s):
GEORGE HARRIS
Claimant short name:
HARRIS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
109335
Motion number(s):
M-69403
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant's attorney:
GEORGE HARRIS, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: G. Lawrence Dillon, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney GeneralOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 16, 2005
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Claimant has brought this motion pursuant to CPLR Rule 3211(b) seeking an order striking all defenses contained in defendant's Verified Answer, and directing judgment against the defendant. The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with this motion:
Notice of Motion, Affidavit, with Exhibits 1,2

Correspondence dated November 20, 2004 from G. Lawrence Dillon, Esq., Assistant Attorney General 3

Filed Papers: Claim, Verified Answer

In his claim, claimant seeks damages in the amount of $60,000.00, apparently based upon allegations that the defendant failed to timely and adequately address his mental health condition, leading to an incident on January 12, 2004, when claimant attempted to commit suicide.

In its Verified Answer, defendant has set forth its admissions, general denials, and denials based upon a lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief, pursuant to CPLR § 3018. Additionally, defendant included two affirmative defenses, asserting that this Court lacked jurisdiction since the claim did not include an adequate description of the condition alleged (par. 6), and that the claim had not been filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims (par. 7).

In his letter response to this motion, defendant's attorney has acknowledged that this claim has now been filed with the Clerk of the Court, and has withdrawn the second affirmative defense (par. 7). In this correspondence, defendant's attorney did not address the first affirmative defense (par. 6).

The Court has reviewed the allegations set forth in this claim, and considering claimant's pro se status, hereby finds for purposes of this motion that claimant has adequately set forth a proper claim against the State. Both affirmative defenses, therefore, are hereby stricken.

Additionally, however, claimant apparently seeks an order striking the entire answer of the defendant and directing judgment in his favor.

However, a motion brought to dismiss defenses pursuant to CPLR Rule 3211(b) "may not be used to strike out mere denials contained in the answer." (Siegel, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C3211:38). Therefore, except for the affirmative defenses which have been stricken herein, the Verified Answer of the defendant is proper and in compliance with CPLR § 3018.

Accordingly, based on the foregoing, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-69403 is hereby GRANTED, in part, in that the two affirmative defenses asserted by the defendant in its Verified Answer are hereby stricken; and it is further

ORDERED, that in all other aspects, this motion is hereby DENIED.


February 16, 2005
Syracuse, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims