New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ZIC v. THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, #2005-030-536, Claim No. 109486, Motion No. M-70228


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2005-030-536
Claimant(s):
ANTON ZIC
Claimant short name:
ZIC
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
109486
Motion number(s):
M-70228
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney:
ANTON ZIC, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERALBY: ELYSE J. ANGELICO, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 20, 2005
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read and considered on Defendant's motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Court of Claims Act §§9, 10 and 11 and Civil Practice Law and Rules §§3211(a)(2) and (7):
1,2 Notice of Motion, Affirmation by Elyse J. Angelico, Assistant Attorney General
3,4 Filed Papers: Claim, Answer

No Opposition Filed

After carefully considering the papers submitted and the applicable law the motion is disposed of as follows:

Anton Zic alleges in Claim Number 109486 that "the Department of Social Services in White Plains, New York, failed to provide monthly payments of $484.00 for June, July, August and September of 2003, without any written notification of termination of contract . . . " [Claim No. 109486, ¶2]. He has attached to his Claim a copy of a letter dated December 19, 2002 from the Westchester County Department of Social Services advising him that direct payments to him for rent for one of its cases would commence on January 1, 2003, as well as the advice that if the payment did not represent the total cost of rent, Mr. Zic would have to seek any balance due directly from the tenant. [id.]. Mr. Zic alleges that the tenant moved out on October 1, 2003. [id.]. Claimant seeks damages in the amount of $1,936.00.

The Claim was filed in the Office of the Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims on June 16, 2004. There is no indication in the Claim that a Notice of Intention was served on the Office of the Attorney General.

Defendant moves to dismiss the Claim on several grounds. First, the Defendant asserts that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the named defendant because the Westchester County Department of Social Services is not an agency of the State of New York. Second, the Defendant asserts that the Claim should be dismissed because it is untimely, since it was filed at least one (1) year after it accrued, and no Notice of Intention was served upon the Attorney General to extend the time within which to serve and file a Claim. Finally, the Defendant asserts that the claim fails to state a legally cognizable claim against the State of New York.

It is axiomatic that the Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction, that may only exercise jurisdiction in cases or controversies for money damages in which the State is a party. Court of Claims Act §9. Here, the Claimant has only named the Department of Social Services in White Plains as Defendant - not an agency of the State of New York - but rather a department of Westchester County, a distinct governmental unit. Westchester County may not be sued for damages in the Court of Claims. The defense is preserved in Defendant's First and Second Affirmative Defenses in its Verified Answer. On this ground alone, the Claim is dismissed. Court of Claims Act §9; Civil Practice Law and Rules §3211(a)(2).

Additionally, Court of Claims Act §10(4) requires that any claim alleging a breach of contract be served and filed within six (6) months of accrual, unless a Notice of Intention was duly served extending the time within which to serve and file such a claim to two (2) years from accrual. The Claim was received by the Attorney General's Office on July 6, 2004, [See Affirmation by Elyse J. Angelico, Assistant Attorney General, ¶3], and filed in the Office of the Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims on June 16, 2004. In this case, assuming an accrual date of June 1, 2003 as alleged in the Claim, the Claim must also be dismissed because it was not served and filed within the required time period. As noted by Defendant, even assuming a later date of accrual, premised upon successive failures to pay up to and including September 1, 2003, the Claim was still not served and filed within the required time period. Court of Claims Act §10(4).

Finally, the Claim also fails to state a legally cognizable claim against the State of New York. Regardless of any liability on the part of Westchester County Department of Social Services, there is no allegation that the State or any of its agencies is a party to the alleged contract, nor is any specific wrongdoing by the State's agents alleged. The only allegations concern acts by Westchester County Department of Social Services. Accordingly, the Claim is also dismissed for a failure to state a cause of action against the State of New York. Court of Claims Act §11(b); Civil Practice Law and Rules §3211(a)(7).

Accordingly, Defendant's Motion Number M-70228 is granted in its entirety, and Claim Number 109486 is in all respects dismissed.


June 20, 2005
White Plains, New York

HON. THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Judge of the Court of Claims