New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MARTIN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-042-505, Claim No. 112318, Motion No. M-74403


Synopsis


This motion is brought by the defendant to dismiss the claim pursuant to CPLR Rule 3211 (2), (7) and (8) for lack of personal jurisdiction and/or subject matter jurisdiction, and for failure to state a cause of action. The motion is unopposed and the court dismisses the claim for lack of both personal and subject matter jurisdiction.

Case Information

UID:
2008-042-505
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY T. MARTIN
Claimant short name:
MARTIN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112318
Motion number(s):
M-74403
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NORMAN I. SIEGEL
Claimant’s attorney:
ANTHONY T. MARTIN, PRO SE
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: JOEL L. MARMELSTEIN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
February 19, 2008
City:
Utica
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

This matter comes before the court on defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim pursuant to CPLR Rule 3211 (2), (7), and (8) for lack of personal jurisdiction and/or subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a cause of action. This motion is unopposed. The court has considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of Motion, filed November 15, 2007
  2. Affirmation of Joel L. Marmelstein, Esq., dated November 14, 2007
  3. Exhibits A - D, annexed to the moving papers
___________________________________

According to the notice of intention to file a claim, the cause of action accrued on October 18, 2005. And, according to the notice of intention to file a claim , the underlying basis for the claim is that the “law library is inadequate to my claims and litigation needs”. The notice of intention to file a claim failed to set forth any requested relief.

The claim itself fails to state a date of accrual and is more verbose than the notice of intention to file a claim. While the precise nature of the claim is uncertain, the reasonable interpretation of the claim is that it too contends that the Marcy Correctional Facility’s law library was inadequate to meet claimant’s needs. The claimant seeks a monetary damage award of $5,600,000.00.

Defense counsel states that while the claim was apparently filed with the Clerk of the Court on May 9, 2006, no attempt was made to serve the claim on the Attorney General until October 4, 2007.

Defense counsel also acknowledges that the claim was preceded by the Notice of Intention to File a Claim, which was dated April 11, 2006, postmarked April 17, 2006, and received by the Attorney General’s office on April 18, 2006. Defendant contends that the notice offered no specific date of accrual and, like the claim, was vague as to the precise nature of the cause of action.

The defense contends that neither the Notice of Intention to File a Claim nor the claim were personally served or served by certified mail, return receipt requested. Exhibits supporting this argument are attached to the moving papers.

The defendant also contends that the court lacks jurisdiction as the matter is untimely brought. While the claim fails to set forth a specific date of accrual, the notice of intention to file a claim notes that the claim arose on October 18, 2005. And, while the precise nature of the claim - if in fact a claim has been stated - is uncertain, under the provisions of Court of Claims Act Section 10 (and any reasonably applicable subdivisions thereunder), a claim would have to have been served and filed within 90 days from the date of accrual, or a notice of intention to file a claim would have to have been served within 90 days from the date of accrual and a claim filed and served within two years from the date of accrual.

Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) (i) specifically provides that:

[t]he claim shall be filed with the clerk of the court; and, except in the case of a claim for the appropriation by the state of lands, a copy shall be served upon the attorney general within the times hereinbefore provided for filing with the clerk of the court either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. . .


The law is well established that the “requirements of . . . Section 11 of the Court of Claims Act are jurisdictional in nature and, therefore, must be strictly construed” (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Authority, 75 NY2d 721, 722, citing with favor, Buckles v State of New York, 221 NY 418, 423 - 424). In Finnerty, where the Attorney General had not been properly served under CCA § 11, the court found that the failure to properly serve under Section 11 resulted “not in a failure of personal jurisdiction . . . but in a failure of subject matter jurisdiction which may not be waived.” (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Authority, 75 NY2d 721, 723). “[T]he use of ordinary mail to serve the claim upon the Attorney-General is insufficient to acquire jurisdiction over the State” (Philippe v State of New York, 248 AD2d 827 [3rd Dept 1998]).

In light of the foregoing, the claim is dismissed for lack of both personal and subject matter jurisdiction. The court need not reach the other grounds raised by the defendant, and any arguments not specifically addressed herein are deemed moot in light of the foregoing decision.



February 19, 2008
Utica, New York

HON. NORMAN I. SIEGEL
Judge of the Court of Claims