New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MONTGOMERY v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-014-502, Claim No. 111090, Motion No. M-70531


Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim as untimely on the ground that it consists of allegations of intentional torts is denied; the claim is for negligence, its nature is sufficiently stated to satisfy the requirements of Court of Claims Act section 11.

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):

S. Michael Nadel
Claimant’s attorney:
Goldstein & GoldsteinBy Mark I. Goldstein
Defendant’s attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy Assistant Attorney General Ellen Matowik
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
January 30, 2006
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

The following papers were read on the defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim: Notice of Motion, Affirmation, Exhibit annexed; Affidavit in Opposition; Reply Affirmation.

The defendant has chosen to read the claim as alleging intentional torts, because it includes, in the fifth and sixth paragraphs, allegations that as a result of the actions of the defendant, the claimant was “wrongfully, unlawfully and falsely arrested and detained” and “maliciously prosecuted.” Thus interpreted, the claim would be untimely, since it was filed, after timely service of a notice of intention, more than one year after its accrual (Court of Claims Act 10[3-b]).
While the foregoing language in the claim, standing alone, could support the defendant’s interpretation of the claim, the second paragraph of the claim alleges that “on July 9, 2003, at arraignments at Kings County Criminal Court, located at 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York, Claimant was negligently, mistakenly confused with another individual who had an outstanding warrant, and was then arrested and incarcerated.” Similarly, the third paragraph of the notice of intention begins: “The incident arose on July 9, 2003 at arrignments [sic] at Kings County Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11201. When Claimant was negligently, carelessly, recklessly mistaken confused with another individual who had an outstanding warrant. Despite claimant’s protestations, he was identified as being another person and wrongfully detained and jailed causing plaintiff . . . . .”
The claim sounds in negligence. That it simply alleges negligence, and not more specifically “ministerial negligence,” does not, as suggested by the defendant, insufficiently describe its nature. While the factual recitation is succinct, “how the defendant was negligent [is] stated or can be reasonably inferred” (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 768). “It is settled that liability may flow from the negligence of non-judicial employees in performing their ministerial duties [citations omitted]; see also Boland v State of New York, 218 AD2d 235, 244 [there is ample authority for imposing liability upon the State based upon the negligent performance of a ministerial act]” (Schwandt v State of New York, 4 Misc 3d 405, 410).
Accordingly, the claim, which was served and filed within two years of its accrual (Court of Claims Act 10[3]), is timely. The defendant’s motion is dismissed.

January 30, 2006
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims