For the reasons set forth below, Defendant’s pre-answer motion to dismiss
pursuant to Court of Claims Act §§ 10 and 11 and CPLR 3211(a)(2) is
granted. That portion of the motion seeking dismissal pursuant to CPLR
3211(a)(7) and (8) is denied as moot.
The Claim, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court on May 9, 2008 and
served upon Defendant on May 13, 2008 (see Cagino Affirmation in Support,
¶ 3), asserts that from February 8, 2003 to March 21, 2003 Claimant worked
for the State of New York and was paid for only one day, February 8, 2003. The
Claim further asserts that Claimant’s services consisted of providing
medical care to clients in their own homes. It is alleged that the State
approved the amount agreed upon and then failed to pay for the service.
In support of the State’s motion, Assistant Attorney General Paul F.
Cagino asserts that CPLR § 3013 requires that pleadings be sufficiently
particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions or
occurrences intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of
action (id., ¶ 4). He further asserts that the instant Claim does
not provide “sufficiently particular” notice of any matters except
that Claimant worked for the State of New York. Counsel states that the
allegations in the Claim do not provide sufficient information as to what the
alleged cause of action is, or if it is a negligence or breach of contract
action (id., ¶ 5).
In opposition to the motion, Claimant asserts in a letter that “this
[dispute] is an [ongoing] matter with the Department of Health” regarding
money to which she is entitled for work performed (Letter dated June 24, 2008).
Attached to the letter to the Court are copies of an October 5, 2004 letter to
the Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health and
six pages of Medicaid Management Information Systems Medical Assistance (Title
XIX) Program Remittance Statements. Those statements indicate that Claimant
was denied payment for services reportedly rendered on numerous dates during
2003. The forms report that Claimant was paid for other dates for service
during that period. Many of the dates fall outside the time frame for which the
Claim seeks payment.
Section 206.1(c) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims provides that
matters not covered by the Court of Claims Act or the Court of Claims Rules
shall be governed by the Civil Practice Law and Rules (hereinafter CPLR).
As stated above, Defendant asserts that Claimant’s pleadings are
inadequate pursuant to CPLR § 3013; however, Court of Claims Act §
11(b) sets forth the pleading requirements in this Court.
As relevant here, Court of Claims Act § 11(b) places four specific
substantive conditions upon the State’s waiver of sovereign immunity by
requiring the Claim to specify: (1) the nature of the Claim; (2) the time when
it arose; (3) the place where it arose; and (4) the items of damage or injuries
claimed to have been sustained.
In reviewing the instant Claim, it is alleged only that Claimant provided
medical care to her clients in their own homes from February 8 to March 21,
2003, that she worked for the State, and that she was not paid the amount agreed
upon. As pointed out by Defense counsel, the Claim does not assert whether
Claimant was an employee of the State, or an agency, was an independent
contractor, or was the employee of an independent contractor. Further, there is
no indication whether Claimant is proceeding under the legal theory of
negligence or breach of contract. Thus, Claimant has not asserted the nature of
the Claim, or stated the place or places where the Claim accrued. “The
Court of Claims Act does not require the State to ferret out or assemble
information that section 11(b) obligates the [C]laimant to allege”
(Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 208 ; see
Czynski v State of New York, __ AD3d __ [3d Dept 2008]). Failure to
comply with § 11(b) deprives this Court of subject matter jurisdiction
(Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, supra at 206-209;
Czynski v State of New York, AD3d ,
Assuming arguendo that the nature of the Claim was properly stated, the
Claim still would be dismissed. Whether the Claim is one for negligence or
breach of contract, it is not timely filed and served pursuant to the relevant
provisions of the Court of Claims Act.
Pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10(3), a Claim alleging negligence was
required to be served and filed within ninety days after accrual unless
Claimant, within that time period, served upon the Attorney General a Notice of
Intention to File a Claim, in which event the Claim was required to be served
and filed within two years after accrual. Pursuant to § 10(4) of the Court
of Claims Act, a breach of contract action was required to be served and filed
within six months after accrual unless Claimant, within that period of time,
served upon the Attorney General a Notice of Intention to File a Claim, in which
event the Claim was required to be served and filed within two years after
accrual. In either case, Claimant was required to serve and file a Claim within
two years after accrual.
Claimant asserts that she was not paid for work that was performed between
February 8, 2003 and March 21, 2003. There is no assertion or evidence that
Claimant served a Notice of Intention to File a Claim. Thus, the Claim that was
filed on May 9, 2008 and served on May 13, 2008 is untimely, as it was not filed
within either ninety days (for a negligence claim) or six months (for a contract
claim) of accrual. Moreover, even if a Notice of Intention to File a Claim had
been timely served on the Attorney General, the Claim itself is still untimely
since it was neither served nor filed within two years of accrual as the statute
Therefore, based upon the foregoing, the Claim is hereby dismissed.