New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ISIDORE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-015-208, Claim No. 112546, Motion No. M-73122


Synopsis


Motion to dismiss claim was granted as the Court lacked jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief.

Case Information

UID:
2007-015-208
Claimant(s):
SAMUEL F. ISIDORE
1 1.By Order dated October 26, 2006 the caption of this claim was amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Claimant short name:
ISIDORE
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
By Order dated October 26, 2006 the caption of this claim was amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112546
Motion number(s):
M-73122
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Samuel F. Isidore, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Kevan J. Acton, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 5, 2007
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(2) is granted. Claimant acting pro se seeks equitable relief and monetary damages flowing from the alleged collection of two debts through income executions, confiscation of his bank accounts and income tax refunds. He alleges the following as a basis for his claim:
Since February of 2006 . . . both debts have been paid and collected and [I] made an official demand for a certificate of satisfaction; to remove all suspensions (sic) orders against me; stop all collections in reference to these two debts and to refund to me all over payments (sic) collected by defendant after the debts have been satisfied.

Claimant previously moved to vacate an order[2] which allegedly suspended his driver's license, professional licenses and United States passport and for an order directing the defendant to cease enforcement of the suspension order. In his affidavit submitted in support of that motion, the claimant indicated that the collection actions complained of were the result of a failure to pay child support[3]. By order of this Court dated January 23, 2007 the prior motion was denied on the ground that this Court lacked jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief. This motion to dismiss the claim followed shortly thereafter.

The primary jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is limited to actions seeking money damages against the State in appropriation, contract or tort (Court of Claims Act § 9[2]; Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413, 417 [1954]). While the Court "may apply equitable considerations and perhaps, to some extent, may grant some sort of incidental equitable relief ... the Court of Claims has 'no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief...with the return of money to follow as a consequence of the equitable relief, if granted' " (Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670, 671 [1997] [citations omitted]; see also Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [2005]). Thus, the threshold question in determining whether the Court of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction of a claim is "[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recover money, or whether the monetary relief is incidental to the primary claim" ( Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988]; see also Guy v State of New York, 18 AD3d 936 [2005]). Here, it is clear that the primary relief sought by the claimant is strictly equitable in nature with any monetary relief dependent upon a determination that the governmental action complained of was unlawful. As a result, the Court of Claims lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this claim.

Claimant's opposition to the instant motion is based primarily on the contention that the defendant's motion is late. In this regard an order dated October 26, 2006 required that any motion for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212(a) be made returnable no later than 60 days after the filing of the note of issue. However, defendant's motion is not one for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212(a) but for dismissal of the claim pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(2), which can be made at any time (CPLR 3211[e]; cf. Chuqui v Church of Saint Margaret Mary, 39 AD3d 397 [2007]). Accordingly, the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim is granted.


July 5, 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 March 22, 2007;
  2. Affirmation of Kevan J. Acton dated March 23, 2007;
  3. Affidavit of Samuel F. Isidore sworn to April 23, 2007.

[2]. Neither the claim nor the motion papers identify the specific entity issuing the order(s) complained of.
[3]. Claimant states in his affidavit submitted in opposition to this motion that the suspension of his license, passport, and the income tax offset was done "by order of defendant through administrative procedures with legislative authority without going to court" (claimant's affidavit in opposition, par. 9).