New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JACOBY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-037-025, Claim No. 112544, Motion No. M-72226


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:
Brent Jacoby, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
New York State Attorney General
By: Richard B. Friedfertig, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 3, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant moves for a more definite statement pursuant to CPLR 3014. The following were read and considered with respect to this motion:
1. Notice of motion and supporting affidavit of Assistant Attorney General Richard

B. Friedfertig sworn to September 5, 2006, and attached Exhibit A;

2. Reply affidavit of pro se Claimant, Brent Jacoby, sworn to September 11, 2006,

Filed papers: Claim filed July 19, 2006.

Defendant moves against pro se Claimant’s claim in lieu of filing and serving an answer. By its motion, Defendant is requesting a more definite statement, alleging that the claim fails to comply with CPLR 3014, which requires that a pleading “consist of plain and concise statements in consecutively numbered paragraphs,” and that “[e]ach paragraph shall contain, as far as practicable, a single allegation.”

The claim consists of 14 pages, plus an additional 15 pages of Exhibits. Paragraph #2 of the claim contains a general statement of Claimant’s overall grievance:
“This claim is for numerous acts and violations committed by the state and employees of the state of N.Y.D.O.C. (sic) towards Jacoby and his rights such as Due process rights to a fair Hearing and an impartial hearing officer, false arrest and Imprisonment, Perjury, conspiracy to convict and confine Jacoby in Segregation, Conspiracy to deprive legal materials as well as access to the courts, Retaliation tampering with evidence to convict, falsifieng (sic) documents to convict as well as Fabricating evidence to convict, cruel and unusual punishment, Harassment, illegal Segregation for 39 days.”

All of these allegations are crammed into two prolix and disjointed causes of action which defy the basic rules for drafting pleadings. Section 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act requires that a claim “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 purpose of § 11 is to give the state prompt notice of an event and the opportunity to investigate (Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623 [1994]). Moreover, “[s]tatements in a pleading shall be sufficiently particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of action ...” (CPLR 3013). Separate causes of action are to be stated separately (CPLR 3014).

While the rules of pleading are to be interpreted liberally, especially when dealing with a pro se litigant (see Campaign for Fiscal Equity v State of New York, 86 NY2d 307 [1995]), some common sense limits must be recognized. Defense counsel should not be forced to attempt to ferret out separate and distinct causes of action in order to prepare a clear and concise answer. Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Defendant’s motion to compel a more definite statement from Claimant is granted. Claimant is directed to serve and file an amended claim, complying with § 11 of the Court of Claims Act and CPLR 3013 and 3014, within sixty (60) days of the filed date of this decision and order. Defendant will then have forty (40) days from the service of the amended claim within which to answer.

October 3, 2006
Buffalo, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims