New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

STYPULKOWSKI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-009-078, Claim No. NONE, Motion Nos. M-72090, CM-72091


Synopsis


Defendant’s motion to dismiss a served (but not filed) bailment claim was granted, and claimant’s cross-motion for an order deeming his notice of intention as a claim was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2006-009-078
Claimant(s):
TOMASZ STYPULKOWSKI
1 1.The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Claimant short name:
STYPULKOWSKI
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
NONE
Motion number(s):
M-72090
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-72091
Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant’s attorney:
TOMASZ STYPULKOWSKI, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Thomas M. Trace, Esq.,
Senior AttorneyOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
December 19, 2006
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant has brought a motion (M-72090) to dismiss a bailment claim which has been served upon the Attorney General. Claimant has responded with a cross-motion (CM-72091) seeking an order deeming his previously served notice of intention to file a claim as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10(8).

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with these motions:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibits (M-72090) 1,2


Notice of Cross-Motion, Affidavit (CM-72091) 3,4

Defendant’s Response to Cross-Motion (CM-72091) 5

As set forth in his claim (attached as Exhibit C to Items 1,2), claimant seeks damages in the amount of $250.00, alleging that employees of the Department of Correctional Services lost his watch when he was transferred to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Oneida Correctional Facility on or about September 18, 2005. Claimant has therefore asserted a claim sounding in bailment.

Inmate bailment claims are governed by Court of Claims Act § 10(9), which provides that any claim alleging the loss of personal property by an inmate may not be filed “unless and until the inmate has exhausted the personal property claims administrative remedy”. The statute further requires that any such claim “must be filed and served within one hundred twenty days after the date on which the inmate has exhausted such remedy.”

In this particular matter, defendant has attached a copy of claimant’s “Inmate Claim Form” (see Exhibit E to Items 1,2) which contains a notation that the review of claimant’s administrative claim was made on November 29, 2005. Following this determination, claimant served a “notice of intention to file a claim” upon the Attorney General on December 9, 2005, by certified mail, return receipt requested (see Exhibits A and B to Items 1,2). Subsequently, claimant then served his claim upon the Attorney General on May 19, 2006, by certified mail, return receipt requested (see Exhibits C and D to Items 1,2). There is no record, however, that this claim was (or has been) filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims as required by § 10(9).

The service and filing requirements of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional prerequisites to the institution and maintenance of a claim against the State, and as such must be strictly construed (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721; Byrne v State of New York, 104 AD2d 872, lv denied 64 NY2d 607). In this matter, defendant has established to the satisfaction of this Court that claimant failed to comply with the explicit provisions of § 10(9) in that his claim was served more than 120 days after the exhaustion of his administrative remedy. However, since claimant never filed his claim with the Clerk of the Court of Claims, there is no actual claim to be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. In any event, even though defendant’s motion may be therefore viewed as an academic exercise, the served (but not filed) claim is jurisdictionally defective.

Furthermore, since claimant failed to serve and file a claim within 120 days after he had exhausted his administrative remedies, the Court may not entertain an application for late claim relief pursuant to § 10(6) of the Court of Claims Act (see Roberts v State of New York, 11 AD3d 1000).

In response to the motion to dismiss, however, claimant has requested that the Court treat his previously and timely served notice of intention as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10(8)(a). Pursuant to this section, a Court may grant such relief, if it is made by 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 CPLR, 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.

Even though claimant has demonstrated that his notice of intention was timely and properly served on the defendant, § 10(9) of the Court of Claims Act, governing inmate bailment claims, does not make any provision authorizing the serving of a notice of intention (cf. Court of Claims Act § 10[3-b]). Accordingly, claimant’s previously served notice of intention is of no legal consequence (Cepeda v State of New York, Ct Cl, October 22, 2001, Midey, Jr., J., Claim No. 104717, Motion No. M-64015 [UID No. 2001-009-049]), and therefore may not serve as a basis for relief under § 10(8) (Gloster v State of New York, Ct Cl, June 5, 2002, McNamara, J., Claim No. 103662, Motion No. M- 64877 [UID No. 2002-011-550]; Pristell v State of New York, Ct Cl, July 15, 2005, Lebous, J., Claim No. None, Motion No. M-70283 [UID No. 2005-019-547]).[2]
Accordingly, for the reasons stated herein, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-72090, to the extent that it seeks to dismiss a served (but not filed) claim is GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Cross-Motion No. CM-72091, seeking an order deeming the timely served notice of intention alleging a bailment cause of action as a claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10(8), is hereby DENIED.


December 19, 2006
Syracuse, New York

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




[2].Unpublished decisions and selected orders of the Court of Claims are available via the Internet at http://www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us/decisions.