New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JONES v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-037-020, Claim No. 112346, Motion No. M-71951


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:
Terry Allen Jones, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
New York State Attorney General
By: Gregory P. Miller, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
August 1, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant brings motion (M-71951) to dismiss pro se Claimant’s “Affidavit of Complaint”[1]

for failing to comply with §§ 10 and 11 of the Court of Claims Act. The following were read and

considered with respect to this motion:

1. Notice of motion to dismiss filed July 5, 2006, and affidavit of Assistant Attorney

General Gregory P. Miller sworn to June 30, 2006, with attached Exhibits A-C.

Filed papers: unverified “Affidavit of Complaint” filed May 16, 2006.

Pro se Claimant Terry Allen Jones filed an unverified claim on May 16, 2006. In lieu of answering, Defendant brought a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to CPLR 3211. Claimant failed to serve any papers in opposition to this motion.

Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) requires that service upon the Attorney General be accomplished by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested (see Hodge v State of New York, 213 AD2d 766 [1995], app dismissed 87 NY2d 968 [1996]). In his June 4, 2006 letter to the Chief Clerk, Claimant states that he will mail a copy of his claim to the Attorney General because he is unable to get to the post office to send it certified mail and because he does not have fax capacity. Defendant attaches to its motion papers a copy of Claimant’s cover letter dated June 4, 2006, to the Attorney General advising that he is unable to serve a copy of his claim by certified mail (Exhibit C), and a copy of the envelope in which the claim was served on the Office of the Attorney General (Exhibit B). This envelope shows postage of $.78. It bears no indicia of mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The filing and service requirements of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional in nature and must be strictly construed (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721 [1989]; Martinez v State of New York, 282 AD2d 580 [2001], lv denied 96 NY2d 720 [2001]). “[N]otice received by means other than those authorized by statute cannot serve to bring a defendant within the jurisdiction of the court” (Feinstein v Bergner, 48 NY2d 234, 241 [1979]). The Court is without discretion to waive these requirements. The use of ordinary mail to serve the Attorney General is insufficient to confer jurisdiction (Bogel v State of New York, 175 AD2d 493 [1991]). Accordingly, the claim must be dismissed due to Claimant’s failure to comply with the service requirements of the Court of Claims Act.

The State’s waiver of sovereign immunity is further conditioned upon compliance with the requirements of § 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act, which provides that a “claim shall state the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same, and the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and the total sum claimed.” The claim must set forth the facts relied upon to sustain a recovery and state a valid cause of action (Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623, 625 [1994]). The purpose of § 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act is to give the State prompt notice of an occurrence and the opportunity to investigate the facts in order to ascertain its potential liability (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767 [1980]).

In pertinent part, Claimant’s claim alleges:

... that the Defendant owes the Plaintiff the sum of $5,000,000.00

plus costs for recovery of monies lost in relation to the defendant’s

handling of the plaintiff’s divorce action against the plaintiff’s former

spouse ... for its employment agreement made with the plaintiff at

SUNY Buffalo, CEDARTECH, Inc, and all other employers in the

state, for its handling of legal matters of grave importance to the

plaintiff, and for the defendant’s denial of essential services to the



“That the defendant has made the state party to, has offered the

state’s endorsement of, and has compensated those guilty of murder

for hire, prostitution, extortion, blackmail, fraud, mayhem, grand

larceny, assault and medical quackery.”

Claimant’s claim fails to fulfill the substantive requirements of a claim set forth in § 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act. Nowhere in Claimant’s musing can a viable cause of action be deciphered. In fact, no specific information regarding any negligent act on the part of any representative of the State is even alleged in Claimant’s claim. Moreover, not one date is given and the Claimant admits in his June 4, 2006 letter to the Chief Clerk that “the events transpired in many counties.” Claimant’s broad, unspecified and prolix allegations are simply insufficiently definite to enable the State to promptly investigate and to ascertain its potential liability (see Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201 [2003]). Claimant’s “confusing discourse of conclusory allegations,” without any factual support or specifics relating to these allegations, make it impossible to decipher a valid cause of action (see Hodge v State of New York, supra at 768). Finally, Claimant fails to separately allege each cause of action or to use plain and concise statements in consecutively numbered paragraphs as required of pleadings pursuant to CPLR 3014. Accordingly, Claimant’s claim must be dismissed due to Claimant’s failure to comply with the substantive pleading requirements of the Court of Claims Act.

Based on the foregoing, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Defendant’s motion M-71951 is granted and Claim No. 112346 is dismissed.

The Clerk of the Court is directed to close the file.

August 1, 2006
Buffalo, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]. There is no pleading in this Court known as an “affidavit of complaint.” An action is commenced in the Court of Claims by the filing and service of a claim on behalf of a claimant, not a plaintiff. For clarity, Claimant’s “affidavit of complaint” shall be referred to hereinafter as the claim.