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New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
MARUF v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK (1), # 2019-032-077, Claim No. 132193, Motion No. M-94546

Synopsis

The claim is dismissed as untimely and because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

Case information

UID: 2019-032-077
Claimant(s): SULTAN A. MARUF
Claimant short name: MARUF
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK(2)
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 132193
Motion number(s): M-94546
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney: Sultan A. Maruf, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Hon. Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Douglas R. Kemp, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: December 30, 2019
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant, proceeding pro se, filed the instant claim on October 26, 2018 alleging that the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance ("OTDA") wrongfully denied his request for exemption from work activities. Thereafter, defendant filed and served a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that the claim was untimely and that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. For the following reasons, the Court grants defendant's motion and dismisses the claim.

As relevant here, "[a] claimant seeking to recover damages for personal injuries caused by the [intentional tort,] negligence . . . or unintentional tort of an officer or employee of the State must file and serve a claim or, alternatively, a notice of intention to file such a claim, upon the Attorney General within 90 days after the accrual thereof" (Maude V. v New York State Off. of Children & Family Servs., 82 AD3d 1468, 1469 [3d Dept. 2011]; see Court of Claims Act 10 [3], 10 [3-b]). Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i) provides that a "claim shall be filed with the clerk of the court; and . . . a copy shall be served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon the attorney general within the times hereinbefore provided for filing with the clerk of the court." "[A]s suits against defendant are permitted only by virtue of its waiver of sovereign immunity and are in derogation of the common law, the failure to strictly comply with the filing or service provisions of the Court of Claims Act divests the court of subject matter jurisdiction and compels dismissal of the claim" (Caci v State of New York, 107 AD3d 1121, 1122 [3d Dept. 2013] [internal quotation marks and citations omitted]; see Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721, 722-723 [1989]; Rodriguez v State of New York, 307 AD2d 657, 657 [3d Dept. 2003]).

Claimant's cause of action accrued on June 28, 2018 (Verified Claim 4). Accordingly, claimant was required to file and serve the claim no later than September 26, 2018 (Court of Claims Act 10 [3], 10 [3-b]). As claimant filed the claim on October 26, 2018 and served it upon the OAG on July 15, 2019 (Kemp. Aff. 3), it is untimely and must be dismissed.

Even assuming arguendo that claimant had timely filed and served the claim, the Court would still dismiss the claim as it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the cause of action asserted therein.

The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and does not have the jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief (see Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [3d Dept. 2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [2005]). The threshold question in determining whether the Court of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction over a claim is " '[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recover money, or whether the monetary relief is incidental to the primary claim' " (id., quoting Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231 [1988]). The second inquiry, regardless of how a claimant categorizes a claim, is whether the claim would require review of an administrative agency's determination, which the Court of Claims has no subject matter jurisdiction to entertain (see Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641 [3d Dept. 2007]; City of New York v State of New York, 46 AD3d 1168 [3d Dept. 2007], lv denied 10 NY3d 705 [2008]). An administrative agency's determination may be reviewed only in the context of a CPLR Article 78 proceeding commenced in Supreme Court; such action cannot be brought in the Court of Claims (CPLR 7801; see Matter of Scherbyn v Wayne-Finger Lakes Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 77 NY2d 753 [1991]; Matter of Salahuddin v Connell, 53 AD3d 898 [3d Dept. 2008]).

Here, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim because the Court would be required to review the OTDA's determination in order to reach the merits of the claim (see Green v State of New York, 90 AD3d 1577, 1578-1579 [4th Dept. 2011], lv denied 18 NY3d 901 [2012]). Moreover, the monetary damages sought by claimant are merely incidental to the primary claim, which seeks to overturn the OTDA's decision.

For the reasons set forth above, it is hereby

ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss the claim (M-94546) is GRANTED and claim number 132193 is DISMISSED.

December 30, 2019

Albany, New York

JUDITH A. HARD

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Verified Claim, filed on October 26, 2018.

2. Notice of Motion, dated August 23, 2019; and Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss, affirmed by Douglas R. Kemp, AAG on August 23, 2019, with Exhibit A annexed thereto.


2. The Court sua sponte amends the caption to reflect the properly named defendant.