New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SCHUTT v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-040-055, Claim No. 113045, Motion No. M-76561


Synopsis


Motion to amend Claim to assert cause of action for punitive damages denied.

Case Information

UID:
2009-040-055
Claimant(s):
MAJA SCHUTT
Claimant short name:
SCHUTT
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
113045
Motion number(s):
M-76561
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant’s attorney:
Maja Schutt, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New YorkBy: Kimberly A. Kinirons, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 9, 2009
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

For the reasons set forth below, the pro se Claimant’s motion to amend her Claim to add a cause of action seeking punitive damages is denied.

The Claim, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court on November 27, 2006, alleges that Claimant was an international student at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (hereinafter SUNY Stony Brook) and that certain SUNY Stony Brook employees were negligent in assisting Claimant in completing certain forms for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding her eligibility for employment and inadequately counseling her in May 2006. As a result of the allegedly improperly completed documents, Claimant allegedly lost two employment opportunities. Claimant seeks to amend her Claim by asserting a cause of action for punitive damages.

CPLR 3025(b) provides that leave to amend shall be freely given upon such terms as are just. That grant of leave to amend a Claim is subject, however, to the proviso that the proposed amendment does not prejudice or surprise the Defendant, is not patently devoid of merit, and is not palpably insufficient (Shovak v Long Is. Commercial Bank, 50 AD3d 1118, 1120 [2d Dept 2008], lv dismissed and denied 11 NY3d 762 [2008]; Pellegrini v Richmond County Ambulance Serv., Inc., 48 AD3d 436, 437 [2d Dept 2008]). Here, Claimant is seeking to amend the Claim to add a cause of action for punitive damages. The New York State Court of Appeals has determined that “the waiver of sovereign immunity [contained in] section 8 of the Court of Claims Act does not permit punitive damages to be assessed against the State or its political subdivisions” (Sharapata v Town of Islip, 56 NY2d 332, 334 [1982]; see Krohn v New York City Police Dept., 2 NY3d 329, 335 [2004]). As punitive damages are not available against the Defendant, State of New York, the Court finds that the proposed amendment is without merit and must, therefore, be denied.


July 9, 2009
Albany, New York

HON. CHRISTOPHER J. MCCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read and considered by the Court on Claimant’s motion to amend her Claim:

Papers Numbered
Motion and Exhibits attached 1
Affirmation in Opposition 2

Claimant’s “Affirmation” in Opposition
to Defendant’s Affirmation 3



Filed Papers; Claim, Answer