New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
McNAIR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2009-030-570, Claim No. 117370, Motion No. M-77461

Synopsis

Claim dismissed on motion. Court of Claims does not have subject matter jurisdiction over causes of action asserted against the Wards Island Men's Shelter (Schwartz Shelter), EMS, and the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Pro se claimant alleged EMS workers arrived to transport him did not have proper equipment, tried to dissuade him from seeking treatment, and deliberately dropped a brief case on his foot.

Case information

UID: 2009-030-570
Claimant(s): CLARENCE McNAIR
Claimant short name: McNAIR
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 117370
Motion number(s): M-77461
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney: CLARENCE McNAIR, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney: HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: GWENDOLYN HATCHER, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: December 18, 2009
City: White Plains
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

The following papers were read and considered on defendant's motion:

1,2 Notice of Motion; Affirmation in Support by Gwendolyn Hatcher, Assistant Attorney General and attached exhibits

3,4 Filed papers: Claim, Answer

No Opposition Filed

Clarence McNair alleges in his claim that while he was a resident at the Wards Island men's shelter ["Swartz (sic) Building", Claim No. 117370] on July 20, 2009 he requested ambulance service because he could not walk and wanted medical treatment. He indicates that when emergency medical service [EMS] workers arrived, they were not equipped with proper gear, tried to convince him not to seek medical treatment, and deliberately dropped a brief case on his already injured foot and pushed him. He indicates that New York City Department of Homeless Services police witnessed the events and themselves filed complaints against the EMS workers. Based upon some of the attachments to his claim, he appears to have made a complaint to the New York City Police Department and sought medical attention.

In its answer, in addition to general denials, the defendant raises six affirmative defenses including its fourth defense that the Court of Claims does not have subject matter jurisdiction over causes of action asserted against the Wards Island Men's Shelter (Schwartz Shelter), EMS, and the New York City Department of Homeless Services, and a sixth defense that the claim does not state a cause of action against the State of New York. Proof of service of the present motion to dismiss upon the claimant has been filed.

It is axiomatic that the Court of Claims is a Court of limited jurisdiction, that may only exercise jurisdiction in cases or controversies for money damages in which the State (or certain authorities) is a party. Court of Claims Act 9. Here, while the claimant has named the State of New York as the defendant, it is clear that the State is not a proper party based upon the factual assertions in the claim, the documents Mr. McNair included with his claim, and the attachments to the defendant's present motion to dismiss. [See Affirmation in Support by Gwendolyn Hatcher, Assistant Attorney General, Exhibits B and C].

The EMS workers are not identified as coming from any particular hospital or organization, and do not appear to be State employees. [Ibid. 5]. The Schwartz Shelter at Wards Island is operated by the Volunteers of America - Greater New York, Inc. [Ibid. Exhibit B]. The New York City Department of Homeless Services is a city agency. [Ibid. Exhibit C].

Accordingly, and given the lack of opposition to the motion, the Court is satisfied that the State of New York is not a proper party defendant to the claim, thus the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. Court of Claims Act 9; Civil Practice Law and Rules 3211(a)(2). Defendant's motion is granted, and Claim Number 117370 is in all respected dismissed.

December 18, 2009

White Plains, New York

THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA

Judge of the Court of Claims