New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TAYLOR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-016-036, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-73989


Synopsis


Late claim motion was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2008-016-036
Claimant(s):
BARBARA N. TAYLOR
1 1.In her caption, claimant names various entities whom she apparently intends as defendants, although some are denominated otherwise: Congressional Representatives Edophus Towns and Vito Fosella are named as “cross claimants”; “NYS Department of Labor In Behalf of State of New York Contracts” is named as defendant; and Carlos Pareja and “BCAT Public Access Television” are named as “third-party cross-claimant.” The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant over which the court has jurisdiction in this matter is the State of New York.
Claimant short name:
TAYLOR
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
In her caption, claimant names various entities whom she apparently intends as defendants, although some are denominated otherwise: Congressional Representatives Edophus Towns and Vito Fosella are named as “cross claimants”; “NYS Department of Labor In Behalf of State of New York Contracts” is named as defendant; and Carlos Pareja and “BCAT Public Access Television” are named as “third-party cross-claimant.” The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant over which the court has jurisdiction in this matter is the State of New York.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-73989
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
Barbara N. Taylor, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
For the State of New York:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Gwendolyn Hatcher, Esq., AAG

For Brooklyn Community Access Television and Carlos Pareja:
Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP
By: Jill L. Mandell, Esq.
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 30, 2008
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant Barbara Taylor moves for an extension of time “to initiate the claim process” or, in the alternative, for permission to file a late claim pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (the “Act”), and for the appointment of an attorney to represent her.[2] Ms. Taylor describes herself as an “independent contractor” who was party to an approved and negotiated “split-subcontract partnership agreement” entered into in connection with the Governor’s Task Force on the Modernization of Elections. The contract, she states, was executed in the spring of 2006 among herself, Carlos Pareja of Brooklyn Community Access Television, and “Brooklyn Residents.” See proposed claim, ¶2. Claimant asserts that she is entitled, under the contract, to the sum of $120,000 for performing “essential Technical Professional Consultant and Training Services” (id., ¶2(a)), elsewhere described as “subcontracted Liaison-Consultant and GIS [Geographical Info Survey] public works services designed to refine the new Election and Voting processes.” See ¶5 of the September 14, 2007 affidavit of Barbara Taylor.

Claimant is apparently alleging that the performance of her contract was made difficult or impossible because portions of the project were postponed or cancelled (see proposed claim, ¶2(d)) and because of “continuous conflict, opposition and resistance by major television industry professionals” to the pilot project (id., ¶ 2(e)). The nature of the State’s alleged role in the events giving rise to the claim is not clear. Claimant states that her claim accrued on December 31, 2006. No copy of the contract is annexed to claimant’s papers.

In order to determine claimant’s late claim motion, six factors enumerated in §10.6 of the Act must be considered: whether (1) defendant had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (2) defendant had an opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; (3) defendant was substantially prejudiced; (4) claimant has any other available remedy; (5) the delay was excusable and (6) the claim appears to be meritorious. The factors are not necessarily exhaustive, nor is the presence or absence of any particular factor controlling.[3]

Claimant has failed to address any of these factors, other than to suggest that the reason for her delay was the anticipated settlement of her claim. This is not a valid excuse for the purposes of the act. See, e.g.,
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company a/s/o Quincy S. Thomson v State of New York, Ct Cl, June 19, 2006 (unreported, motion no. M-70977, UID #2006-033-187
[4]
, Lack, J.).
The first three factors – whether defendant had notice of the essential facts, had an opportunity to investigate or would be prejudiced by the granting of this motion are intertwined and may be considered together. See Brewer v State of New York, 176 Misc 2d 337, 342, 672 NYS2d 650, 655 (Ct Cl 1998). Defendant states that the Department of Labor has been unable to locate in its records any information as to a contract involving claimant or any of the individuals named in her papers, and claimant has not otherwise shown that these three factors have been satisfied. With regard to an alternate remedy, to the extent there was a valid contract, claimant might have causes of action against entities other than the State.

The final factor to be considered is whether the proposed claim appears meritorious. As set forth above, claimant has advanced no facts giving rise to a cause of action against the State of New York. In view of the foregoing, I cannot find that she meets the standard for merit set forth in Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Authority, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11, 399 NYS2d 395, 402-03 (Ct Cl 1977): (i) the claim "must not be patently groundless, frivolous, or legally defective" and (ii) upon consideration of the entire record, including the proposed claim and any exhibits or affidavits, "there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists."

Finally, with respect to Ms. Taylor’s request to have an attorney appointed to represent her, such is not generally available in civil cases. See Matter of Smiley, 36 NY2d 433, 369 NYS2d 87 (1975).

In view of the foregoing, having reviewed the submissions[5], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-73989 be denied.



July 30, 2008
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[2]. Claimant also states that she is seeking a preliminary conference, which would be automatically scheduled were this motion to be granted; leave to amend the caption to omit some named defendants, which has already been resolved (see footnote 1), and “examination of the administrative procedure for awarding compensation of subcontract claims,” which would be a part of the discovery process authorized by Article 31 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
  1. [3]See Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV, Inc. v New York State Employees’ Retirement Sys. Policemen’s and Firemen’s Retirement Sys., 55 NY2d 979, 449 NYS2d 185 (1982); Scarver v State of New York, 233 AD2d 858, 649 NYS2d 280 (4th Dept 1996).
  2. [4]This and other decisions of the Court of Claims may be found on the Court’s website: www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.
  3. [5]The following were reviewed: claimant’s notice of motion with affidavit in support, proposed claim and other undesignated attachments; affirmation in opposition of the State of New York; claimant’s “Responsive Pleading” dated October 16, 2007; “Affirmation in Opposition to Motion” of Brooklyn Community Access Television and Carlos Pareja; and claimant’s “Responsive Pleading” dated November 21, 2007.