New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ISAAC v. CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (CUNY), CUNY BROOKLYN COLLEGE and CUNY YORK COLLEGE, #2005-016-057, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-70330


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2005-016-057
Claimant(s):
TAMARA S. ISAAC
Claimant short name:
ISAAC
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (CUNY), CUNY BROOKLYN COLLEGE and CUNY YORK COLLEGE
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-70330
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Tamara S. Isaac, Pro se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Ellen Matowik, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 1, 2005
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

This is the motion of Tamara S. Isaac for permission to file a late claim pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (the "Act"). In her proposed claim, Ms. Isaac alleges that Brooklyn College failed to give her credit toward her graduate degree for a York College course that had "previously been approved" by a Brooklyn College professor. In order to determine this motion, six factors enumerated in the Act must be considered: whether (1) defendant had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (2) defendant had an opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; (3) defendant was substantially prejudiced; (4) claimant has any other available remedy; (5) the delay was excusable and (6) the claim appears to be meritorious. The factors are not necessarily exhaustive, nor is the presence or absence of any particular factor controlling.[1]

The first three factors – whether defendant had notice of the essential facts, had an opportunity to investigate or would be prejudiced by the granting of this motion are intertwined and may be considered together. See Brewer v State of New York, 176 Misc 2d 337, 342, 672 NYS2d 650, 655 (Ct Cl 1998). In this case, claimant's papers contain numerous documents -- sent or received by the college -- relating to her efforts to obtain credit for the course in question and defendant has identified no prejudice. I conclude that these factors have been satisfied.

As to an alternate remedy, a claim for damages against a senior college of the City University of New York lies solely in this Court. Education Law §6224.4. As to excuse, claimant has provided no explanation for her failure to timely commence an action and thus this factor has not been met.

Finally, it must be determined whether the proposed claim appears meritorious. Essentially, claimant contends that during a meeting with Brooklyn College Professor Wen Song Hwu in the "late summer/early fall 2003," the professor "approved" her substitution of a York College course[2] for a Brooklyn College course.[3] Subsequently, claimant was not given credit for the York College course, as Brooklyn College took the position that it was "unable to comply with your request to have an undergraduate pass/fail course from York College counted toward your graduate degree in Education. Your case was considered in some detail by the Faculty Council Committee . . . However, after broad deliberation and consultation, it has been determined that this is not a Faculty Council matter, as our graduate requirements are set by the New York State Department of Education (SED). SED does not permit undergraduate courses of any kind to be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements . . ." See the April 12, 2005 letter to claimant from Louise Hainline of Brooklyn College, annexed to claimant's moving papers. Aside from her general allegation of Professor Hwu's approval, claimant has submitted nothing to suggest that the College gave any such approval. Nor has she submitted anything to support her contention that the York College course was "represented" as a graduate level course.

Overall, I find that claimant fails to meet the standard set forth in Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Authority, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11, 399 NYS2d 395, 402-03 (Ct Cl 1977): (i) the claim "must not be patently groundless, frivolous, or legally defective" and (ii) upon consideration of the entire record, including the proposed claim and any exhibits or affidavits, "there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists." See also Prusack v State of New York, 117 AD2d 729, 498 NYS2d 455 (2d Dept 1986).

Accordingly, having reviewed the parties' submissions,[4] IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-70330 be denied.


September 1, 2005
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




  1. [1]See Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV, Inc. v New York State Employees' Retirement Sys. Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement Sys., 55 NY2d 979, 449 NYS2d 185 (1982); Scarver v State of New York, 233 AD2d 858, 649 NYS2d 280 (4th Dept 1996).
  2. [2]SCED 573, Practicum in the Physical Sciences for Elementary Teachers
  3. [3]GSCI 604.1T, Selected Concepts in the Physical Sciences for Elementary Teachers
  4. [4]The Court reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affidavit in support and undesignated exhibits; defendant's affirmation in opposition; and claimant's reply affirmation.