New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-015-121, Claim No. 117448, Motion No. M-91930

Synopsis

Claim was dismissed for lack of service.

Case information

UID: 2018-015-121
Claimant(s): MAURICE COREY JOHNSON
Claimant short name: JOHNSON
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 117448
Motion number(s): M-91930
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 pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2) on the ground the claim was not served upon the Attorney General as required by Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i).

The claim, filed on September 25, 2009, seeks damages for injuries allegedly sustained by the claimant when he was assaulted by a correction officer at Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility on October 2, 2008.

Defendant contends in support of its dismissal motion that although three notices of intention to file a claim were served upon the defendant, the claim itself was not served.

Defendant's contention is supported by both defense counsel's affirmation and the affidavit of Amy Vastola, Legal Assistant II in the Albany Office of the Attorney General. Defense counsel states that based upon his personal review of the file maintained by the Office of the Attorney General, there is no record of service of a claim in this matter. Ms. Vastola states in her affidavit that it is the usual business practice of the Attorney General's Office to record receipt of claims in its digital case-management system and that her search of this system failed to reflect that a claim in this matter was served on the Office of the Attorney General.

The State's waiver of immunity under section 8 of the Court of Claims Act is contingent upon claimant's compliance with the specific conditions to suit set forth in article II of the Court of Claims Act (Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 206 [2003]). Among these conditions is the service requirement contained in Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i) which provides, in relevant part, that a copy of the claim "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." The failure to serve a claim upon the Attorney General is a non-waivable jurisdictional defect which divests this Court of subject matter jurisdiction (Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth., 75 NY2d 721, 723 [1989]; Caci v State of New York, 107 AD3d 1121 [3d Dept 2013]; Caci v State of New York, 107 AD3d 1121 [3d Dept 2013]; Johnson v New York State, 71 AD3d 1355, 1355 [3d Dept 2010], lv denied 15 NY3d 703 [2010]; cf. Court of Claims Act 11 [c] [ii]).

Defendant established in support of its motion that the claim was not served upon the Attorney General as required by Court of Claims Act 11 (a) (i). There being no opposition to the motion nor any evidence that the claim was served on the Attorney General, dismissal of the claim is required.

Accordingly, defendant's motion is granted, and the claim is dismissed.

April 24, 2018

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of motion, dated March 9, 2018;
  2. Affirmation of Paul F. Cagino, Esq., dated March 9, 2018 with Exhibits A - D.