New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LUSTER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-015-187, Claim No. 116237, Motion No. M-76189


Synopsis


Claim filed on behalf of nominal claimant and others similarly situated was dismissed for failure to meet the pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act § 11 (b).

Case Information

UID:
2009-015-187
Claimant(s):
TROY LUSTER INDIVIDUALLY & ON BEHALF OF OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED
1 1.The caption is amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Claimant short name:
LUSTER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption is amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
116237
Motion number(s):
M-76189
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Rawlins Law Firm, PLLCBy: Gary N. Rawlins, Esquire
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Michael T. Krenrich, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 14, 2009
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant's motion to dismiss the instant claim pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2) and Court of Claims Act § 10 (3) and § 11 is granted without opposition. The instant claim filed on behalf of Troy Luster and others similarly situated alleges causes of action for false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution and violations of the United States and New York State Constitutions arising out of unspecified periods of confinement for violations of the conditions of parole "when in fact they were not on parole". The substance of the claim is set forth as follows:
"2. The nature of the claim:

To recover money damages for the violation of their rights under the Fourth Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America, for the violation of their New York State Constitutional rights, against unreasonable searches and seizures, unlawful imprisonment, unlawful arrest, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and related damages incurred by Claimants by reason of their false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, recklessness and carelessness of THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ("NYSDOC") its agents, servants, employees and/or licensees. Married claimants make claim for loss of support, society, and consortium.

3. The time, the place where and the manner in which the claim arose:

That at on or about September 1, 1998 to date, claimants were falsely arrested and imprisoned based on a claim that he [sic] violated parole when in fact they were not on parole. The NYS and NYSDOC their agents, servants and/or employees caused, permitted and allowed defendants and others similarly situated to endure emotional, personal and mental damages as a result of their false arrest, imprisonment and searches all without warrants and in violation of state and federal statutes, ordinance, rules and regulations."

Section 11(b) of the Court of Claims Act requires that a claim state "the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same, the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and . . . the total sum claimed..." The guiding principle in determining the sufficiency of a claim is whether it is sufficiently definite " 'to enable the State. . . to investigate the claim[s] promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances' ...". (Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201 [2003], quoting Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 767 [1980]). While pleading with "absolute exactness" is not required, a cause of action must be pled with sufficient specificity so as not to mislead, deceive or prejudice the rights of the State (Heisler v State of New York, supra, 78 AD2d at 767). Here, claimant's failure to plead the dates of the confinement and the circumstances in which the arrests and confinement occurred require dismissal of the claim. The allegation that "on or about September 1, 1998 to date, claimants were falsely arrested and imprisoned based on a claim that he violated parole when in fact they were not on parole" is insufficiently specific to enable the defendant to investigate the claim and ascertain its liability under the circumstances. Accordingly, defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed.



July 14, 2009
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated January 29, 2009;
  2. Affirmation of Michael T. Krenrich dated January 29, 2009 with exhibit.