New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KNIGHT v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-018-621, Claim No. 112172, Motion No. M-73625


Synopsis


Defendant has not suggested that an ineffectual effort was made to utilize the information provided in the notice of intention. Accordingly, the Court finds that the notice of intention adequately complies with Court of Claims Act § 11(b). Defendant’s motion to dismiss is hereby DENIED.

Case Information

UID:
2008-018-621
Claimant(s):
WILLIE KNIGHT
Claimant short name:
KNIGHT
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112172
Motion number(s):
M-73625
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
FLANAGAN & ASSOCIATES, PLLCBy: David Grossman, Esquire, of Counsel
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Heather R. Rubinstein, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 18, 2008
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant brings this motion to dismiss the claim for lack of jurisdiction. Claimant

submitted opposition to the motion for consideration.

Defendant asserts that the claim should be dismissed because the notice of intention fails to set forth a complete date of accrual and fails to adequately describe where the incident occurred as required by Court of Claims Act § 11(b). Defendant states that the notice of intention only provides that the claim arose on “the 4th day of April,” without providing any year. Defendant also notes that the notice of intention “only indicates the ‘yard’ as the location of the incident.” (Rubinstein Affirmation ¶7). As a result of the alleged deficiencies with the notice of intention, defendant argues that the time within which claimant had to file a claim was not extended; since the claim was not filed within 90 days of the date of accrual, it is untimely and must be dismissed (Court of Claims Act § 10[3-a]).

The notice of intention provides that the claim arose on the 4th day of April when claimant’s right ankle was broken “due to [sic] officer on post in [sic] yard directing claimant to walk through [sic] area where construction was being done and area was designated off limits by Construction [sic] Company [sic] due to the ground being dug-up” (Notice of intention, Defendant’s Exhibit B).

Court of Claims Act § 11(b) requires that the notice of intention to file a claim must state the same matters as a claim, that is it must state the time when and the place where the claim arose, the nature of the claim, and the items of damages or injuries. A failure to adequately set forth the information required is a jurisdictional defect, and does not serve to extend the time within which to file and serve a claim (Court of Claims Act § 10[3-a]).

To meet the requirements of Court of Claims Act § 11(b), the notice of intention must be made with “sufficient definiteness to enable the State to be able to investigate the claim promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances,” it must be “specific enough so as not to mislead, deceive or prejudice the rights of the State.” (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767). “In short, substantial compliance with section 11 is what is required.” (Heisler v State of New York, supra).

Claimant describes that the incident occurred on April 4, without specifying the year. The notice of intention verification is dated May 17, 2004 and it was served on June 7, 2004. Even without the year being specified it seems likely given the time frame constraints of the Court of Claims Act that the incident would have in all likelihood occurred on April 4, 2004, a little more than a month before claimant signed the verification for the notice of intention (see Wilson v State of New York, Ct Cl, Minarik, J., signed September 11, 2007, UID #2007-031-043, Claim No. 111995, M-73112). Claimant listed as his current address the only correctional facility cited in the notice of intention. Claimant did not separately identify that facility as the “place where” the incident occurred. However, since the claimant’s current address listed is also the facility where the incident allegedly occurred, the Court does not find this to be a jurisdictional defect (see Cain v State of New York, Ct Cl, Patti, J., signed March 1, 2006, UID # 2006-013-006, Claim No. 110724, M-70782, CM-70921; Moran v State of New York, Ct Cl, Read, J., signed May 26, 2000, UID #2000-001-012, Claim No. 100594, M-61263). Claimant thereafter sets forth that the incident occurred in the area in the yard which was under construction. Defendant has failed to allege that there is more than one yard area, or that there was more than one yard area under construction in April 2004. Although defendant is not required to go beyond the four corners of the notice of intention to ascertain information which should have been provided pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 11(b), here all of the information necessary for defendant to investigate is either in the document or logically determined by the contents (Eckert v Queens College and the City University of New York, Ct Cl, Marin, J., signed March 3, 2003, UID #2003-016-016, Claim No. 104697, M-66086, CM-66139; but compare Harper v State of New York, 34 AD2d 865 [claim sought continuing damages for well contamination, claim did not indicate when the problem arose]; Johnson v State of New York, Ct Cl, Patti, J., filed June 30, 1997, Claim No. 95572, M-55137 [where the claim provided: “[o]n ____________, 199__...” with no indication of the date or time frame during which the claim arose]; Osipova v State of New York, Ct Cl, Bell, J., filed March 7, 1997, Claim No. 93921, M-54749 [claimant contended that the State wrongfully robbed her of part of her SSI grant, and that the claim accrued in February, with no year of accrual. The supporting affidavit in opposition to the motion to dismiss referred to the years 1993 and 1994. The Court found that it was impossible to discern when the claim arose.]). Defendant has not suggested that an ineffectual effort was made to utilize the information provided in the notice of intention. Accordingly, the Court finds that the notice of intention adequately complies with Court of Claims Act § 11(b).

Defendant’s motion to dismiss is hereby DENIED.



April 18, 2008
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:

1. Notice of Motion.
2. Affirmation of Heather R. Rubinstein, Esquire, Assistant Attorney

General, in support, with exhibits attached thereto.

3. Affirmation of David Grossman, Esquire, in opposition, with exhibits

attached thereto.