New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
JUDWARE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-015-115, Claim No. 124362, Motion No. M-91814

Synopsis

Claim was dismissed for improper service by ordinary mail rather than one of the methods prescribed by Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i).

Case information

UID: 2018-015-115
Claimant(s): ROBIN T. JUDWARE
Claimant short name: JUDWARE
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) : The caption has been amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 124362
Motion number(s): M-91814
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: No Appearance
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General
By: Paul F. Cagino, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: April 24, 2018
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Defendant moves to dismiss the claim for improper service pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2).

Claimant, a pro se inmate, seeks damages for the loss of certain food items given to him by his family when they visited him at Washington Correctional Facility on October 6, 2013. Claimant alleges in Exhibit A attached and filed with the claim that he discovered the food items were missing when he picked up his package following the visit from his family.

Defendant contends in support of its motion that the claim was served by ordinary mail rather than personal service or certified mail, return receipt requested, as required by Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i). Defendant supports its motion with a copy of the envelope in which the claim was mailed, which contains none of the indicia of a certified mailing (see defendant's Exhibit A).

Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i) requires that the claim be filed with the Clerk of the Court and that "a copy shall be served personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon the attorney general . . ." Inasmuch as the filing and service requirements of Court of Claims Act 10 and 11 are jurisdictional in nature, they must be strictly construed (Lurie v State of New York, 73 AD2d 1006, 1007 [3d Dept 1980], affd 52 NY2d 849 [1981]; see also Dreger v New York State Thruway Auth., 81 NY2d 721, 724 [1992]). Absent waiver of the defense (Court of Claims Act 11 [c]), service of the claim by ordinary mail is insufficient to acquire jurisdiction over the defendant (Encarnacion v State of New York, 133 AD3d 1049 [3d Dept 2015], lv denied 26 NY3d 919 [2016]; Brown v State of New York, 114 AD3d 632 [2d Dept 2014]; Fulton v State of New York, 35 AD3d 977 [3d Dept 2006], lv denied 8 NY3d 809 [2007]; Govan v State of New York, 301 AD2d 757 [3d Dept 2003], lv denied 99 NY2d 510 [2003]; Thompson v State of New York, 286 AD2d 831 [3d Dept 2001]).

Defendant established through submission of a copy of the envelope in which the claim was mailed that the claim was improperly served by ordinary mail rather than one of the methods prescribed by Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i). Moreover, the affidavit of service of the claim filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court of Claims indicates only that a Petition (not a claim) was sent to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (see Trimble v State of New York, 142 AD3d 1256 [3d Dept 2016], appeal dismissed 28 NY3d 1181 [2017]). Given the absence of proof establishing service of the claim in the manner prescribed by the Court of Claims Act, and as the defendant preserved its objection to the manner of service by raising it as an affirmative defense in its answer, the claim must be dismissed.

Accordingly, the defendant's motion is granted, without opposition, and the claim is dismissed.

April 24, 2018

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Claim, filed May 14, 2014;
  2. Notice of motion, dated February 15, 2018;
  3. Affirmation of Paul F. Cagino, Esq., dated February 15, 2018 with Exhibits A and B;
  4. Affidavit of service sworn to February 15, 2018.