New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LaGRANDE v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-039-070, Claim No. 114220, Motion No. M-74126


Synopsis


Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (3) on the ground that the Court is without jurisdiction of the claim is granted. The proof offered in support of the motion established that claimant failed to file and serve the attorney general with a copy of the claim, or to serve the attorney general with a notice of intention to file a claim, within 90 days from the accrual of the claim.

Case Information

UID:
2008-039-070
Claimant(s):
QUENTIN LaGRANDE
Claimant short name:
LaGRANDE
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
114220
Motion number(s):
M-74126
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JAMES H. FERREIRA
Claimant’s attorney:
Quentin LaGrande, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Belinda A. WagnerAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 12, 2008
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

“On [March 24, 2005, claimant] filed a verified complaint with the State Division of Human Rights charging the [State of New York and the State University of New York at Albany (hereinafter SUNY)] with an unlawful discriminatory practice relating to education because of race/color in violation of the Human Rights Law of the State of New York” (Determination and Order After Investigation attached as Exhibit “B” to Defendant’s Reply Affirmation). On April 11, 2006, the State Division of Human Rights concluded, among other things, that “respondent’s action was taken solely upon legitimate, non-discriminatory grounds” and dismissed the complaint (id.).[1]

During May 2007, claimant commenced an action in Supreme Court for money damages against SUNY and the SUNY campus police, and moved the Court for an order granting him poor person status. By Decision and Order dated June 20, 2007, the Court (McNamara, J.) concluded that it was without jurisdiction of the claim as “money damages against the State of New York resides exclusively with the Court of Claims,” and denied claimant’s motion (Decision and Order attached as Exhibit “A” to Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss).

On September 12, 2007, claimant filed copies of documents with this Court that he had previously filed with the Supreme Court, together with a cover letter expressing his desire to “proceed with the ‘Cause of Action’ against . . . (The University At Albany; and the State University At Albany Campus Police)” in the Court of Claims (Exhibit “A” attached to Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss). In his letter, claimant also seeks permission to amend his “complaint” to include “Actions of Discrimination” alleged to have occurred from “on or about November 24, 2004 through February of 2005.” In the documents, claimant alleges violations of Article 15 of the New York State Human Rights Law. More specifically, he alleges, among other things, that “[o]n or about May 6, 2004,” while a student attending SUNY, he was “racial[ly] harass[ed]” when a campus security guard stopped him in response to “complaints in the past of ‘BLACK’ men ‘SEXUALLY HARRASSING’ white female students on campus.” Thereafter, claimant requested that he be given “incomplete(s)” in each of his courses, as he was “very concern[ed] about [his] ‘SAFETY’ on campus.” Claimant alleges that when he returned to campus on August 28, 2004, he was informed that he had received letter grades in each of his courses, and that he had been academically dismissed from SUNY.

Defendant now moves the Court for an order dismissing the claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (3) on the ground that the Court is without jurisdiction of the claim. Claimant opposes the motion.

Court of Claims Act §10 (3) provides, in relevant part, that a claim must be “filed and served upon the attorney general within ninety days after the accrual of such claim, unless the claimant shall within such time serve upon the attorney general a written notice of intention to file a claim therefor, in which event the claim shall be filed and served upon the attorney general within two years after the accrual of such claim.” It is well settled that “ ‘the requirements of the Court of Claims Act as to the filing of claims must be strictly construed because the question of timeliness of filing is jurisdictional’ ” (Pristell v State of New York, 40 AD3d 1198, 1198 [2007], quoting Roberts v State of New York, 11 AD3d 1000, 1001 [2004]; see also Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721 [1989]).

Based upon the foregoing principles, the Court concludes that it is without jurisdiction of the claim. Claimant’s materials were not filed and served upon the attorney general until September 12, 2007. Thus, whether the claim is considered to have accrued during May 2004, when claimant was allegedly stopped by campus police, or during August 2004, when claimant learned that he had been academically dismissed from SUNY, or from November 2004 through February 2005, as alleged in claimant’s September 12, 2007 cover letter to the Court, claimant’s failure to file and serve the attorney general with a copy of the claim, or to serve the attorney general with a notice of intention to file a claim, within 90 days therefrom constitutes a fatal defect and the claim must be dismissed.

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that Motion No. M-74126 is granted and the claim is dismissed in its entirety.


March 12, 2008
Albany, New York

HON. JAMES H. FERREIRA
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers Considered
:
  1. Notice of Motion to Dismiss dated October 22, 2007;
  2. Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss by Belinda A. Wagner, AAG dated October 22, 2007 with exhibit;
  3. Opposition to Motion to Dismiss by Quentin La Grande dated January 11, 2008; and
  4. Reply Affirmation by Belinda A. Wagner, AAG dated January 14, 2008 with exhibits.

[1]. There is no proof before the Court that claimant appealed the Determination and Order of the State Division of Human Rights to the Supreme Court.