New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WILLIAMS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-040-059, Claim No. 111806, Motion No. M-71303


Synopsis


Motion to Dismiss granted as: (1) Claim served on Defendant was not a copy of filed Claim; and (2) served Claim did not comply with CCA § 11(b).

Case Information

UID:
2007-040-059
Claimant(s):
DeANDRE WILLIAMS Prisoner #99A0052
1 1.Caption amended to reflect the State of New York as the proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
WILLIAMS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Caption amended to reflect the State of New York as the proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
111806
Motion number(s):
M-71303
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant’s attorney:
DeAndre Williams, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New YorkBy: Kathleen M. Arnold, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 26, 2007
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant’s motion to dismiss the Claim based upon a failure to comply with the jurisdictional requirements of Court of Claims Act § 11(b) is granted.

This Claim, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court on January 6, 2006, seeks recovery for lost property allegedly caused by the State’s negligent acts.

Defendant’s counsel argues that the Claim is jurisdictionally defective because it does not comply with the requirements of Court of Claims Act § 11(b) in that it does not specify the items of damage or contain a total sum claimed (Arnold affirmation, ¶ 5). In Kolnacki v State of New York (8 NY3d 277 [2007]), the Court of Appeals held that the Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over a Claim which fails to state “the total sum claimed,” one of the requirements of § 11(b). A claim against the State is permissible only as a result of the State’s waiver of sovereign immunity and the statutory requirements conditioning suit must therefore be strictly construed (id. at 280). The Court of Appeals noted that the requirements of § 11(b) are “substantive conditions upon the State's waiver of sovereign immunity” (quoting Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 207 [2003]) and that the failure to satisfy any of the conditions is a jurisdictional defect (Kolnacki, 8 NY3d at 280-281). Kolnacki stressed that “nothing less than strict compliance with the jurisdictional requirements of the Court of Claims Act is necessary” (8 NY3d at 281).

The State’s motion was originally returnable on March 1, 2006 and was ultimately adjourned by the Court to October 10, 2007. Claimant has not opposed Defendant’s motion. On August 15, 2007, Governor Spitzer signed Chapter 606 of the Laws of 2007, which amended Court of Claims Act § 11(b) to except actions for “personal injury, medical, dental or podiatric malpractice or wrongful death” from the requirement that the claim state the total sum claimed. The act took effect immediately and has retroactive effect, providing that any claim pending on or after November 27, 2003 which would have been viable if the act was effective at the time the claim was filed shall not be dismissed for failure to state the total dollar amount of the claim. As Mr. Williams’ Claim does not seek recovery for personal injury, medical, dental or podiatric malpractice or wrongful death, the amendment does not apply to this Claim. In paragraph 2 of the Claim, Mr. Williams asserts that 25 to 30 books, including all his religious books, were missing. On unnumbered page 4 of the filed Claim, Claimant asserts that he was damaged in the amount of $300.00. However, in the Claim he served upon the Defendant, he failed to include the total sum claimed (see Ex. A, unnumbered page 2, attached to Motion).

First, Claimant has failed to comply with the pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act § 11(a) which require that, in order to commence an action in this Court, a Claim must be filed with the Clerk of the Court and “a copy shall be served upon the attorney general.” “Under Section 11, both filing with the court and service on the Attorney-General must occur within the applicable limitations period” (Dreger v New York State Thruway Authority, 81 NY2d 721, 724 [1992]). The document that was served on the Attorney General in this instance was NOT a copy of the Claim that was filed with the Court (see Ali v State of New York, Claim No. 110988, Motion Nos. M-70517, M-70665, CM-70622, dated February 7, 2006, Sise, P.J. [UID No. 2006-028-516]).

Secondly, as asserted by defense counsel, Court of Claims Act § 11(b) requires that the Claim state the items of damage and the total sum claimed (Kolnacki v State of New York, 8 NY3d 277, supra [2007]). The served Claim does not contain the total sum claimed. The State’s motion to dismiss is, therefore, granted.


October 26, 2007
Albany, New York

HON. CHRISTOPHER J. MCCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read and considered by the Court on the State’s motion to dismiss the Claim:

Papers Numbered


Notice of Motion, Affirmation &
Exhibit attached 1


Filed Papers: Claim