New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KULAKOV v. CLINTON COUNTY (JAIL), CITY OF PLATTSBURGH, NY STATE, CLINTON COUNTY COURT, JOE BARILE, 7 WHITEFACE LANE INN, LAKE PLACID, NY, #2007-015-175, Claim No. 112861, Motion No. M-72809


Synopsis


Court of Claims lacked subject matter jurisdiciton.

Case Information

UID:
2007-015-175
Claimant(s):
VLADIMIR KULAKOV
Claimant short name:
KULAKOV
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
CLINTON COUNTY (JAIL), CITY OF PLATTSBURGH, NY STATE, CLINTON COUNTY COURT, JOE BARILE, 7 WHITEFACE LANE INN, LAKE PLACID, NY
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112861
Motion number(s):
M-72809
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Vladimir Kulakov, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Glenn C. King, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 10, 2007
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Defendants' pre-answer motion to dismiss this claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is granted. The claim was filed on October 10, 2006 and served upon the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested, on November 30, 2006[1] together with a notice of intention to file a claim. The claim states the following acts of wrongdoing on the part of the named defendants, Clinton County, City of Plattsburgh, New York State Police, Clinton County Court and Joe Barile:
On 1/5/06 [Clinton County] CO kept me in cold cell, naked no beddings for 5 days. . . . [City of Plattsburgh]: on 3/27/05 City Police assaulted me with deadly weapon, used illegal deadly force (by pointing at me loaded guns), illegally arrested and charged me with bogus crimes (all were dismissed). [New York State Police]: Kidnapped me on two occasions in 2004 and 2005 (issued traffic tickets, handcuffed and put me in jail for not paying tickets at once. . . . [Clinton County Court]: Judge Kevin illegally imposed sentence for escape [illegible] plead not guilty. He did not control D.A. . . . . Joe Barile (and his company) did not pay me $ 1,410 for the job done and withheld too much taxes. . . .

Additional allegations are made that the State Troopers did not have jurisdiction to arrest

the claimant in the City of Plattsburgh, that the Clinton County Court refused to consider his notarized complaints about the City of Plattsburgh police officers who assaulted him on March 27, 2005 and that the City of Plattsburgh illegally impounded four automobiles without compensation. The Court of Claims is a Court of limited jurisdiction empowered to award damages in appropriation, contract or tort for claims against the State of New York (see Court of Claims Act § 9) and other specified entities (see, e.g. Education Law § 6224 (4); Public Authorities Law § 361-b and § 2622; Mitchell v State of New York, Ct Cl, June 27, 2005 [Claim No. 110085, Motion No. M-69741, M-69742, M-70183, UID # 2005-015-025] Collins, J. unreported)[2]. Conversely, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear claims against a County or City as well as their officers and employees (see Fisher v State of New York, 10 NY2d 60 [1961]; Whitmore v State of New York, 55 AD2d 745 [1976], lv denied 42 NY2d 810 (1977); Beriguete v Department of Corrections, Ct Cl, September 12, 2006, [Motion No. M-72056, UID # 2006-041-003] Milano, J.; Mitchell v State of New York, supra; Public Officers Law § 2; General Construction Law § 66[2]; County Law § 3). Thus, the instant claim must be dismissed to the extent it seeks to assert a claim against Clinton County and the City of Plattsburgh. Likewise, the claim against Joe Barile is unrelated to any claim against the State and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as well.

A County Court Judge is a state officer or employee for whose conduct the State may be liable in only limited circumstances (see Mullen v State of New York, 122 AD2d 300, 301 [1986], lv denied 68 NY2d 609 [1986], cert denied 480 US 938 [1987]; Judiciary Law § 39 [6]). The State " 'may not be held liable for actions of [a] state-employed judge where, as here, those actions are cloaked with judicial immunity' "(Davey v State of New York, 31 AD3d 600 [2006], quoting Montesano v State of New York, 11 AD3d 436 [2004]). The rule of absolute immunity from suit is deeply rooted in the common law and is "necessary to assure that judges, advocates and witnesses can perform their respective functions without harassment or intimidation" (Lombardoni v Boccaccio, 121 AD2d 828, 829 [1986], quoting Murray v Brancato, 290 NY 52, 55 [1943]). "Only two exceptions to the doctrine are recognized: when a Judge does not act as a Judge, or when a Judge, though acting under color of judicial authority, lacks any jurisdiction supporting judicial authority for the action taken" (Alvarez v Snyder, 264 AD2d 27, 34 [2000], lv denied 95 NY2d 759 (2000), cert denied 531 US 1158 [2001][citations omitted]). Here, the claimant failed to allege facts sufficient to demonstrate that the actions of the Clinton County Judge, acting as such, were performed in the absence of jurisdiction so as to take them outside the cloak of immunity (see Harley v Perkinson, 187 AD2d 765 [1992]; Rosenstein v State of New York, 37 AD3d 208 [2007]). Under such circumstances the doctrine of judicial immunity shields the State of New York from suit for the alleged improper conduct of the County Court Judge.

With respect to the claim that the State is liable for the conduct of the New York State Police, the claim was untimely. A claim or a notice of intention to file a claim for both unintentional and intentional torts is required to be filed and served upon the Attorney General within ninety days following accrual of the claim (see Court of Claims Act 10[3], 10[3-b]). "The time limitations in the Court of Claims Act ...are distinctly concerned with the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court of Claims as the State has waived its sovereign immunity against suit only to the extent that claimants comply with the provisions of the statute" (Lyles v State of New York, 3 NY3d 396 at 400 [2004], citing Alston v State of New York, 97 NY2d 159, 163 [2001]). The failure to timely file a claim is thus a jurisdictional defect which deprives this Court of jurisdiction to hear the claim. The claim against the State Police is premised on conduct which allegedly occurred in 2004 and 2005. Accordingly, the claim filed on October 10, 2006 and served on November 30, 2006 together with the notice of intention to file a claim was untimely.

Defendants' motion to dismiss the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is granted.


April 10, 2007
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated January 8, 2007;
  2. Affirmation of Glenn C. King dated January 8, 2007 with exhibit;
  3. Objection to defendants' motion to dismiss date stamped January 11, 2007.

[1]. The defendant submitted a copy of the envelope in which both the claim and notice of intention to file a claim were mailed. The envelope reflects service on the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested, on November 28, 2006, and a date stamped thereon that it was received on November 30, 2006.
[2]. Unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the internet at www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.