New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
LESLIE v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-015-185, Claim No. 125998, Motion No. M-92985

Synopsis

Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim for lack of service was granted.

Case information

UID: 2018-015-185
Claimant(s): KIRK LESLIE, 13 A 3188
Claimant short name: LESLIE
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 125998
Motion number(s): M-92985
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: No Appearance
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Barbara D. Underwood, Attorney General
By: Paul F. Cagino, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: December 27, 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).

Claimant, proceeding pro se, seeks damages for the loss of certain personal property following his transfer from the Special Housing Unit at Great Meadow Correctional Facility to the Mental Health Unit of Central New York Hospital, and thereafter to Auburn Correctional Facility where he discovered his property was missing.

The claim was filed on April 20, 2015 and the affidavit of service attached to the claim fails to reflect service of the claim on the Office of the Attorney General.

Defendant contends in support of its dismissal motion that the claim was not served upon the Attorney General. Defendant's contention is supported by both defense counsel's affirmation and the affidavit of Debra L. Mantell, Legal Assistant II in the Albany Office of the Attorney General. Defense counsel indicates, based upon his personal review of the file maintained by the Office of the Attorney General, that there is no record of service of a claim in this matter. Ms. Mantell 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]; 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), and the affidavit of service attached to the claim fails to reflect service of the claim upon the Attorney General. 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.

December 27, 2018

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of Motion, dated October 15, 2018;
  2. Affirmation of Paul F. Cagino, Esq., dated October 15, 2018, with Exhibit A.