New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
RAMRATTAN v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-053-513, Claim No. 125389, Motion Nos. M-91302, M-91438

Synopsis

State's motion to dismiss claim for failing to conform with Court of Claims Act 11 (b) is granted.  Claim fails to sufficiently describe where the claim arose so that it is impossible to tell where the incident took place. Claim is dismissed and claimant's counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel brought by order to show cause is denied as moot.

Case information

UID: 2018-053-513
Claimant(s): JERRY RAMRATTAN
Claimant short name: RAMRATTAN
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) : The caption has been amended to reflect the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 125389
Motion number(s): M-91302, M-91438
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: J. DAVID SAMPSON
Claimant's attorney: LOWELL B. DAVIS, ESQ.
Defendant's attorney: HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN
New York State Attorney General
BY: Darren Longo, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: February 13, 2018
City: Buffalo
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant Jerry Ramrattan seeks damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained on September 23, 2014 when he was assaulted by fellow inmates while incarcerated. Defendant's counsel moves to dismiss the claim (motion no. M-91302). Claimant opposes defendant's motion. Claimant's counsel also brings on by order to show cause a motion for permission to withdraw as counsel (motion no. M-91438). The Court will first address defendant's motion to dismiss as a resolution of this motion could obviate the need to address the motion of claimant's counsel to withdraw as counsel.

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Motion No. M-91302).

Defendant moves to dismiss claim no. 125389 (defendant's Exhibit A) alleging that the claim fails to conform with the requirements of Court of Claims Act 11 (b). This objection was raised with particularity in defendant's answer as an affirmative defense (see defendant's Exhibit B). Pursuant to section 11 (b), the "claim shall state the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same [and] the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained." While "absolute exactness" is not required (Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, [4th Dept 1980]), the claim must be sufficiently pled to enable defendant to investigate and ascertain its potential liability (Robin BB. v State of New York, 56 AD3d 932 [3d Dept 2008]). The Court of Claims Act, however, does not require a defendant to "ferret out or assemble information that section 11 (b) obligates the claimant to allege" (Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 208 [2003]). The failure to satisfy the substantive pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act 11 (b) is a jurisdictional defect which requires dismissal of the claim, even though "the result may be harsh" (Kolnacki v State of New York, 8 NY3d 277, 281 [2007]).

With respect to the requirement that a claim state the place where the claim arose, claim no. 125389 merely states that "the claimant was assaulted by inmates from his neighboring cells." The claim fails to state the correctional facility or specify the cell where the assault occurred. In addition, the claim fails to identify "the neighboring cells" which allegedly housed the assailants. Defendant alleges that it is impossible to tell from these allegations where the incident took place.

The Court concludes that claim no. 125389 fails to satisfy the pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act 11 (b) and is, thus, jurisdictionally defective. Accordingly, defendant's motion no. M-91302 is granted and claim no. 125389 is dismissed.

Claimant's Counsel Motion to Withdraw as Counsel brought by Order to Show Cause (Motion No. M-91438).

Since claim no. 125389 has been dismissed as being jurisdictionally defective, the motion of claimant's counsel to withdraw as counsel brought by order to show cause under motion no. M-91438 is denied as moot.

February 13, 2018

Buffalo, New York

J. DAVID SAMPSON

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following were read and considered by the Court:

1. Notice of motion and affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Darren Longo dated October 23, 2017, with annexed Exhibits A-B;

2. Opposing affirmation of Lowell B. Davis, Esq. dated January 2, 2018;

3. Order to Show Cause filed November 28, 2017; and

4. Supporting affirmation of Lowell B. Davis, Esq. dated October, 2017, with annexed Exhibit A.