New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
POWELL v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2009-040-036, Claim No. 115351, Motion No. M-76344


State's pre-answer (CPLR 3211[a][2]) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction granted.

Case information

UID: 2009-040-036
Claimant(s): JABBAR K. POWELL
Claimant short name: POWELL
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 115351
Motion number(s): M-76344
Cross-motion number(s):
Claimant's attorney: Jabbar K. Powell, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Stephen J. Maher, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: April 27, 2009
City: Albany
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)


For the reasons set forth below, the State's pre-answer motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(2) on the ground that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the Claim is granted. The remainder of the motion is denied as moot.

The Claim, which was filed by Claimant pro se with the Clerk of the Court on June 9, 2008, alleges that, on March 16, 2008 sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Claimant was being transported to the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department/Correctional Facility in a police car and that, as the vehicle pulled into the parking lot, Claimant's face hit the bars of the police car and now several of Claimant's teeth are loose. Claimant asserts that the officer driving the vehicle operated the vehicle in a negligent manner.

The State seeks dismissal contending that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this Claim since neither the City nor County of Schenectady is a proper party in the Court of Claims. The Defendant named in the caption is "The State of New York Schenectady Police Department." Claimant has submitted no opposition to the State's motion.

The Court's function on a motion to dismiss is to determine whether the Claimant possesses a cause of action, not simply whether he has stated one. In addition, "the pleading is to be afforded a liberal construction . . . We accept the facts as alleged in the [Claim] as true, accord [Claimant] the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory [citations omitted]." (Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 87-88 [1994]).

At the same time, the Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction with power to hear claims against the State and certain public authorities (NY Const Art VI; Court of Claims Act  9). City or County police officers or sheriff's deputies are local employees, not State officers within the jurisdiction of this Court (Williams v State of New York, 90 AD2d 861[3d Dept 1982]; Fonfa v State of New York, 88 Misc 2d 343, 348 [Ct Cl 1976]; Bradford v State of New York, Claim No. 100251, Motion Nos. M-61031, CM-61078, March 2, 2000, Collins, J. [UID No. 2000-015-007]).

The State's pre-answer motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction is, therefore, granted and the Claim is hereby dismissed.

April 27, 2009

Albany, New York


Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on the State's motion to dismiss:

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support

and Exhibit Attached 1

Filed Papers: Claim