New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LEE v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-018-511, Claim No. 111408, Motion No. M-70975


Defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.

Case Information

EDDIE JAMES LEE, SR. The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Joel L. Marmelstein, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 31, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant brings a motion to dismiss the claim for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state

a cause of action. It is Defendant's position that the claim fails to set forth the information required by Court of Claims Act § 11(b) and that it fails to state a cognizable cause of action. Claimant opposes the motion.

The claim alleges that at Gouverneur Correctional Facility:

...I was seen by the podiaty [sic] in April of 2005 for my right foot, which

were infection [sic] in my right toe the one next to the little toe.

I am a diabete, [sic] and I were [sic] told by the [sic] Dr. Pellelier that I need

medical boot and sneakers, if set the boot [sic] I also will need the sneakers

to go along with my medical boot which I heard that the State don't [sic]

gave-out [sic] any more, but I would just like to get the medical boot. Just

the boot will be al [sic] right with me.

This is a claim, just like the one Claimant filed back in November 2, 1999

against DOCS.

Defendant argues that the claim fails to set forth the nature of the claim and the alleged negligence of the State and in fact fails to set forth a cause of action at all.

Court of Claims Act § 11(b) requires that a claim shall (1) state the time when the claim arose; (2) the place where the claim arose; (3) the nature of the claim; (4) the items of damage or injuries alleged to have been sustained; and (5) the total sum claimed. The burden is on the claimant to provide this minimal information, and the State has no obligation to "ferret out or assemble" the required details (see Lepkowski v State of New York 1 NY3d 201, 208). The Court must assess whether the claim contains "a statement made with sufficient definiteness to enable the State to investigate the claim promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances" (Cobin v State of New York, 234 AD2d 498, lv dismissed 90 NY2d 925). The statement must be specific enough so as not to "mislead, deceive or prejudice the rights of the State;" "[c]onclusory or general allegations of negligence that fail to adduce the manner in which the claimant was injured and how the State was negligent" do not meet the pleading requirements (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 767-768). Yet, absolute exactness is also not required (Wharton v City University of New York, 287 AD2d 559, 560).

After reviewing the claim this pro se litigant completed on a preprinted form,[1] although it is clearly less than perfectly articulated, the Court finds that it adequately satisfies the requirements of § 11(b) (see Hughes v Rowe, 449 US 5, 9-10). It specifies generally the nature of the claim, that is, Claimant is a diabetic who was told by Dr. Pellelier at Gouverneur Correctional Facility that he needed a medical boot and sneakers which the State won't provide, but he feels he at least needs the medical boot, and he has been damaged in the amount of $150,000 (compare Andino v State of New York, Ct Cl, Scuccimarra, J., signed February 9, 2005, Claim No. 109745, Motion Nos. M-69158, CM-69446, UID# 2005-030-904 [claim contained no indication of what happened to claimant on the roadway in question, nor does it specify the alleged dangerous condition]; Brown v State of New York, Ct Cl, Fitzpatrick, J., signed October 31, 2002, Claim No.106212, Motion Nos. M-65428, CM-65508, UID# 2002-018-176 [claimant alleged he fell in the shower at a correctional facility, but there was no indication of what the State did wrong]). Given the information contained in the claim, the State should be able to investigate and assess its potential liability. Section 11(b) requires certain information be provided which the claim, minimally, does reflect.

Accordingly, Defendant's motion to dismiss is DENIED.

January 31, 2006
Syracuse, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:

Notice of Motion...........................................................................1

Affirmation of Joel L. Marmelstein, Esquire, Assistant Attorney

General, in support, with exhibits attached thereto............2

Affidavit of Eddie James Lee, Sr., in opposition, sworn to

November 28, 2005............................................................3

[1]The form is available on the internet at the Court of Claims website.