New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
JACKSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-045-009, Claim No. 130138, Motion No. M-91141

Synopsis

Claimant's motion to dismiss due to defendant's failure to properly verify its answer, improper verification.

Case information

UID: 2018-045-009
Claimant(s): ERWIN JACKSON
Claimant short name: JACKSON
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 130138
Motion number(s): M-91141
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: GINA M. LOPEZ-SUMMA
Claimant's attorney: Erwin Jackson, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Hon. Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General
By: No Appearance
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: March 22, 2018
City: Hauppauge
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on this motion: Claimant's Notice of Motion; Claimant's Affirmation with annexed Exhibits; and the filed Claim.

Claimant, Erwin Jackson, a pro se inmate, has brought this motion pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2), (8) and 3211 (b) seeking an order dismissing defendant's verified answer and a further order granting claimant judgment based on the verified claim.

The underlying claim in this matter was verified and was served upon the Office of the Attorney General on August 14, 2017. Claimant received defendant's verified answer on August 31, 2017. Claimant rejected and returned the verified answer on that same day after he determined that the answering papers were "totally defective."

Court of Claims Act 11 (b) states that a claim shall be verified in the same manner as a complaint in an action in the supreme court. CPLR 3020 (a) requires that where a pleading is verified, each subsequent pleading shall also be verified. CPLR 3020 (a) defines a verification as "a statement under oath that the pleading is true to the knowledge of the deponent, except as to matters alleged on information and belief, and that as to those matters [the deponent] believes it to be true." The verification of a pleading shall be made by the affidavit of a party except when the party is the State then the verification may be made by any person acquainted with the facts (see CPLR 3020 [d] [2]). CPLR 2106 authorizes an attorney to affirm the truth of statements in lieu of swearing to their truth before one empowered to take oaths.

The Court finds that the verification used by defendant in its answer is sufficient to comply with the requirements for a verified pleading. Claimant's rejection of the verified answer was improper. Additionally, claimant's allegation that the verified answer contains perjured denials and statements does not provide justification for his rejection of the verified answer.

Thus, defendant's verified answer was timely served in this matter.

Claimant also states that he returned the verified answer due to defendant's failure to sign the answer in accordance with 22 NYCRR 130-1.1-a (a). Claimant continues that the lack of a signature confused him since both the names of the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General appear typewritten on the answer. Claimant's claim of confusion is belied by the fact that he is an experienced litigant who has prosecuted numerous cases against the State. The Attorney General is required to defend all actions and proceedings in which the State is interested (Executive Law 63 [1]). The Attorney General may appoint such assistant attorneys-general, deputy assistant attorneys-general and attorneys as he may deem necessary (Executive Law 62). In this claim defendant is properly represented by the Attorney General through one of his assistant attorneys general. Additionally, the purpose of 22 NYCRR 130-1.1 (c) is to address frivolous litigation. Claimant concedes that the Assistant Attorney General signed the verification attached to the claim. The Court finds that by signing the verification the Assistant Attorney General satisfied the underlying intention of the section (see 22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [b]). Thus, given the facts and circumstances of this matter, striking defendant's answer would be improper (Fifield v Whiting, 118 AD3d 1072 [3d Dept 2014]).

Claimant also states that the affirmative defenses raised by defendant in its verified answer were not pleaded with sufficient particularity as mandated by CPLR 3013. A review of the verified pleadings reveals that the affirmative defenses raised by defendant comply with the requirements of CPLR 3013.

Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, claimant's motion is denied in its entirety.

March 22, 2018

Hauppauge, New York

GINA M. LOPEZ-SUMMA

Judge of the Court of Claims