New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ARGULA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-015-062, Claim No. 108872, Motion No. M-70871


Court dismissed inmate claim served by ordinary mail.

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:
Patrick Argula, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Michele M. Walls, Esquire and Stephen Maher, Esquire Assistant Attorneys General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
January 19, 2006
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


At the trial of this claim held at Great Meadow Correctional Facility on November 17, 2005 the Court addressed a motion to dismiss the claim for lack of jurisdiction which had been filed on October 26, 2005 and served upon the claimant on October 25, 2005. Claimant confirmed that he received the motion and upon being questioned by the Court acknowledged that he served the claim upon the Attorney General's Office by regular mail more than 90 days following the accrual of his claim on November 30, 2003. Since defects in both the manner and timeliness of service were raised with particularity in the defendant's answer the motion was properly before the Court (see Court of Claims Act § 11 [c]).

As the Appellate Division, Second Department in Welch v State of New York (286 AD2d 496) observed at pp 497 - 498:
Pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10, '[n]o judgment shall be granted in favor of any claimant' for personal injuries due to negligence, unintentional tort, or intentional tort of a State employee, unless a claim is filed and served upon the Attorney General within 90 days after the accrual of the claim, or the claimant, within 90 days after the accrual of the claim, serves upon the Attorney General a written notice of intention to file a claim therefor, and thereafter files and serves the claim upon the Attorney General within two years after the accrual of the claim (see, Conner v State of New York, 268 AD2d 706; Coleman v Webb, 158 AD2d 500). As a condition of the State's limited waiver of sovereign immunity, those requirements are strictly construed and a failure to comply therewith is a jurisdictional defect compelling the dismissal of the claim (see, Alston v State of New York, 281 AD2d 741; Crair v Brookdale Hosp. Med. Ctr., 259 AD2d 586, affd 94 NY2d 524; Phillips v State of New York, 237 AD2d 590; Voulgarelis v State of New York, 211 AD2d 675).

It is equally well established that "[o]rdinary mail is not one of the methods of service authorized by Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) and '[g]enerally, the use of ordinary mail to serve the claim upon the Attorney-General is insufficient to acquire jurisdiction over the State' (Philippe v State of New York, 248 AD2d 827; see Hodge v State of New York, 213 AD2d 766)" (Turley v State of New York, 279 AD2d 819, lv denied 96 NY2d 708, rearg denied 96 NY2d 855).

The Court is without jurisdiction to hear and decide this claim and it is accordingly dismissed.

January 19, 2006
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated October 25, 2005;
  2. Affirmation of Michele M. Walls dated October 25, 2005 with exhibits.