New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SADOWSKI v. THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, #2008-016-039, Claim No. 114854, Motion No. M-74640


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):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
John P. Sadowski, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Paul F. Cagino, AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
August 4, 2008
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant moves to dismiss the claim of John P. Sadowski pursuant to CPLR 3211(a). Mr. Sadowski’s claim arises from a dispute between him and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (the “DMV”) relating to the registration of claimant’s automobile. Claimant alleges that his registration was suspended and he has been unable to get his car back on the road because the DMV “has neglected to give [him] all the information needed . . .”

He states that the DMV has referred him to employees “who [do] not have [the] authority to assist” him, and he has been given “conflicting information.” At one point, he indicates, he was told that he must wait until March 2009 before the vehicle can be re-registered but then, on another occasion, he was given a DMV printout indicating that the period of suspension was over “due to time served.” See claim, ¶2. He also alleges that the DMV “neglect[ed] to tell me I could have seen a judge to overturn this . . .” Id. The claim states that it accrued at a DMV office in Queens on December 20, 2008.[1] It was filed with the Clerk of the Court on February 19, 2008, and its ad damnum clause seeks compensation in the amount of $20,000,000.00. In lieu of answering, defendant has moved for dismissal of the claim on the ground that the allegations therein “do not provide sufficient notice of any alleged negligence or breach of duty on behalf of the State of New York.” See ¶5 of the March 6, 2008 affirmation of Paul F. Cagino.

In opposition to the motion, claimant reiterates that he is suing the State “for their neglect in response and answering clearly and correctly to the questions I have asked them.” See the first paragraph of claimant’s March 18, 2008 letter in response to this motion (“Claimant’s Response”). Claimant has submitted a number of exhibits, including a December 20, 2007 letter from Nancy Basle, of the DMV’s Insurance Services, written in response to a communication from claimant to the Governor’s office regarding his vehicle’s registration. In this letter, Basle explained the applicable law, reviewed the records relating to claimant’s vehicle registration and driver’s license, and described the specific steps that claimant would have to follow in order to re-register his vehicle and to resolve several default convictions that had been entered against him for operation of a vehicle without insurance, failure to pay a fine, and failure to answer a summons. Claimant states that he used the date of this letter as the date of accrual of his claim because the letter represented “the first time some one higher [than] a clerk was responding to me.” See the second paragraph of Claimant’s Response.

Although claimant has stated a monetary amount in his claim, it is evident that he has brought this action to succeed in re-registering his vehicle and removing any continuing suspension of his driver’s license. An action commenced in the Court of Claims cannot achieve either of these goals. Pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law §§260 to 263, decisions by the DMV to, among other things, revoke or suspend a driver's license and/or a registration, can be appealed to the Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative Appeals Board, and the Board's determination is then amenable to judicial review in Supreme Court by way of an Article 78 proceeding.

In sum, the instant claim fails to state a cause of action against the State of New York on which relief can be granted by this Court. Accordingly, having reviewed the submissions[2], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-74640 be granted and claim no. 114854 be dismissed.

August 4, 2008
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]As becomes apparent below, claimant apparently meant December 20, 2007 – not 2008.
  2. [2]The following were reviewed: defendant’s notice of motion with affirmation in support; and claimant’s March 18, 2008 letter in response with “documents” numbered 1 through 6.