New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

REID v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-019-539, Claim No. 110176, Motion No. M-70149


Claimant's motion to amend his claim is denied.

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:
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Geoffrey B. Rossi, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 10, 2005

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, moves for an order to amend his claim pursuant to CPLR 3025 (b). The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes the motion.

The original claim alleges a single bailment cause of action that arose when various items of claimant's personal property were lost from July 22, 2004 to July 25, 2004 at the Elmira Correctional Facility. Claimant alleges that his facility inmate claim was denied on August 17, 2004, and that his appeal to the superintendent was denied on September 3, 2004. This original claim was filed with the Clerk of the Court on December 3, 2004. The State filed a verified answer on January 12, 2005.

It is well-settled that a motion to amend should be freely granted "[p]rovided that there is no prejudice to the nonmoving party and the amendment is not plainly lacking in merit...." (State of New York v Ladd's Gas Sta., 198 AD2d 654, 654; CPLR 3025 [b]). The motion is directed to the sound discretion of the court. (Murray v City of New York, 43 NY2d 400, 404-405, rearg dismissed, 45 NY2d 966).

Although claimant has submitted a proposed amended claim, he has not submitted a supporting affidavit highlighting the proposed changes or reasons therefor. Nevertheless, the court has compared the original claim to the proposed amended claim and makes the following determination. The substantive differences between the original claim and the proposed amended claim are contained in proposed new paragraphs 13 and 14, the "wherefore" clause, as well as various exhibits such as inmate claim forms and receipts.[1]

With respect to paragraph 13, claimant's proposed amended claim seeks to insert the following:
[c]laimant lost items which he did not mention in his Inmate Claim form photographs, names and addresses of his immediate family whom are now in danger especially claimant's elderly mother whom the claimant sends large amounts of money to. Someone is calling claimant's mother demanding money for her safety as well as her son's safety.

(Proposed amended claim, ¶ 13).

Claimant also seeks to revise his "WHEREFORE" clause as follows:
[c]laimant respectfully requests judgment against the defendant in the sum reached by the Court, the mental anguish nightmares, lost [sic] of sleep, fear of harm coming to the claimant or the claimant's elderly mother, plus the cost of this filing fee plus all other cost incurred as well as the cost of the items mentioned in the supplemental inmate claim, or as deemed just and proper.
(Proposed amended claim, "WHEREFORE" clause).

The court agrees with the State's analysis that these proposed amendments lack merit. Claimant offers no casual connection between the alleged danger to his family and any act and/or omission by the State. Moreover, the proposed revision to the "wherefore" clause does not contain "the total sum claimed" as required by CCA 11 (b). As such the court finds these proposed amendments to be palpably improper or insufficient as a matter of law. (Edenwald Contr. Co. v City of New York, 60 NY2d 957, 959; Harding v Filancia, 144 AD2d 538, 539).

Finally, claimant's proposed new paragraph 14 contains references to various exhibits which were not attached to the original claim, but all of which are attached to the proposed amended claim. The court notes that there is no requirement that a claimant submit each and every piece of evidence as an exhibit to a claim that may later be used as evidence at trial. In any event, claimant has not articulated, nor has this court found, any meritorious reason for necessitating the submission of these numerous exhibits as part of the claim itself. Rather, the admissibility of these exhibits is a matter best left for trial.

In view of the foregoing, it is ORDERED, that claimant's motion to amend his claim, Motion No. M-70149 is DENIED.

June 10, 2005
Binghamton, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
  1. Claim, filed December 3, 2004.
  2. Notice of Motion No. M-70149, dated April 12, 2005, and filed April 14, 2005.
  3. Proposed Amended Claim, sworn to January 25, 2005, with attached exhibits.
  4. Affirmation of Geoffrey B. Rossi, AAG, in opposition to motion, dated March 3, 2005, and filed March 7, 2005.

[1]The proposed amended claim also contains new paragraphs 15 (d) and (e) relating to verification issues which are not substantive in nature.