New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LEE v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-018-523, Claim Nos. 111985, 112052, Motion Nos. M-71556, M-71514


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2006-018-523
Claimant(s):
EDDIE JAMES LEE, SR.
1 1.The Court has amended the caption, sua sponte, to reflect the State of New York as the only proper Defendant.
Claimant short name:
LEE
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
STATE OF NEW YORK
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):
111985, 112052
Motion number(s):
M-71556, M-71514
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
EDDIE JAMES LEE, SR.Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Thomas M. Trace, Esquire

For: Mark A. Webster
Fager & Amsler, LLPBy: Thomas R. Gray, Esquire
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 12, 2006
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant, State of New York, brings a motion (M-71556) seeking to dismiss two claims

(Claim Nos. 111985 and 112052). One of the claims, Claim No. 112052 also names Mr. Mark A. Webster of Claxton Hepburn Medical Center and the CEO of Ogdensburg Hospital as defendants. Another motion to dismiss (M-71514) has been brought on behalf of Mark A. Webster for dismissal of the claim against him. Claimant has responded to the motion.
Motion No. M-71556
Defendant was served with a handwritten claim, reflecting Claimant’s address as Gouverneur Correctional Facility (for ease of reference we will refer to this claim as “Claim A”) by certified mail, return receipt requested, on February 27, 2006. This claim asserts a cause of action for personal injuries from Claimant falling on December 1, 2005, during a trip to the foot doctor, due to the chains with which he was secured slipping down off of his waist to around his legs. Claimant asserts he asked the officer to “tight-up” the chains, but he failed to do so. This claim includes a verification dated February 23, 2006.

Thereafter, Defendant was served with a second handwritten claim (Claim B) by certified mail, return receipt requested on March 1, 2006. This claim asserts the same cause of action. It is not identical to Claim A, however, it substantively describes the same incident. It includes reference to a second request being made to an officer to “tight it-up” the chains. This claim also indicates that there were no rails on which to hold in the hallway of Ogdensburg Hospital in violation of the “disability act.” This claim seeks damages of $350,000. It includes a verification dated February 27, 2006.

Claimant filed a handwritten claim (Claim C) with the Clerk of the Court on February 15, 2006. This claim was given Claim No. 111985, and also contains similar allegations to the other two claims, however, no reference is made to the absence of handrails. This claim was not signed or verified and was not served upon the Attorney General.

Claimant filed another handwritten claim with the Clerk of the Court (Claim D) on March 6, 2006 which was assigned Claim No. 112052, and includes a typed verification dated March 1, 2006. This claim names the State of New York and Mr. Mark A Webster, Claxton Hepburn Medical Center, and the CEO at Ogdensburg Hospital as defendants. The substance of this claim is negligence and failure to comply with the “disability act” by not having handrails on the side of the hallways to assist people in walking down the hall at Ogdensburg Hospital. This claim was not served upon the Attorney General.

Court of Claims Act § 11a(i) provides that “[t]he claim shall be filed with the clerk of the court; and...a copy shall be served upon the attorney general...”[emphasis added]. Here, Claimant has failed to serve a copy of either one of his filed claims upon the Attorney General. This Court, being a court of limited jurisdiction, necessitates strict compliance with the statutory requirements for commencement of an action (Dreger v New York State Thruway Auth., 81 NY2d 721, 724). The failure to serve the Attorney General with a copy of the claims filed deprives this Court of the jurisdiction to entertain these claims (see Ali v State of New York, Ct Cl, Sise, P.J., signed February 7, 2006, Claim No. 110988, Motion Nos. M-70517, M-70665, CM-70622 [UID# 2006-028-516]). The claims served upon the Attorney General, but not filed, are also not properly before the Court. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion is GRANTED and Claim Nos. 111985 and 112052 are hereby DISMISSED.
Motion No. M-71514
Defendant, Mark A. Webster, brings a motion to dismiss Claim No. 112052 as against him. The motion is GRANTED as this Court has no jurisdiction to hear claims against a non-state entity or an individual (Court of Claims Act § 9). Based upon all of the foregoing, Claim No. 112052 is dismissed in its entirety.



July 12, 2006
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


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


Claim Nos. 111985/112052 - Motion No. M-71556


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


Affirmation of Thomas M. Trace, Esquire, in support, with exhibits

attached thereto....................................................................................2



Claim No. 112052 - Motion No. M-71514


Notice of Motion.............................................................................................3


Affirmation of Thomas R. Gray, Esquire, in support, with exhibit

attached thereto....................................................................................4


Unsigned, unsworn, undated response from Claimant filed with the Court

on April 18, 2006.................................................................................5


Claim Nos. 111985/112052 - Motion No. M-71556


Amended Notice of Motion to Dismiss............................................................6


Affirmation of Thomas M. Trace, Esquire, in support, with exhibits

attached thereto....................................................................................7


Claim Nos. 111985/112052 - Motion No. M-71556


2nd Amended Notice of Motion to Dismiss........................................................8


Affirmation of Thomas M. Trace, Esquire, in support, with exhibits

attached thereto.......................................................................................9