New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
BROWN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2019-015-197, Claim No. 132601, Motion No. M-94625

Synopsis

Case information

UID: 2019-015-197
Claimant(s): DEIDRE SUE BROWN
Claimant short name: BROWN
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 132601
Motion number(s): M-94625
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Deidre Sue Brown, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Kevin A. Grossman, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: October 22, 2019
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) and (7) on the ground this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

Claimant, proceeding pro se, filed the instant claim challenging a determination of the New York State Comptroller regarding her application for retirement benefits, arguing that the Comptroller's calculation of the amount of her retirement benefit is incorrect.

The jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is limited to claims seeking primarily money damages (Court of Claims Act 9). The Court has no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief and is, therefore, unable to review the administrative determinations of State Agencies. Irrespective of how a claim is characterized, where review of an administrative agency's determination is necessary, the Court of Claims lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Feuer v State of New York, 101 AD3d 1550 [3d Dept 2012]; Green v State of New York, 90 AD3d 1577 [4th Dept 2011], rearg denied 92 AD3d 1269 [4th Dept 2012], lv dismissed and denied 18 NY3d 901 [2012]; Carver v State of New York, 79 AD3d 1393 [3d Dept 2010], lv denied 17 NY3d 707 [2011]; Buonanotte v New York State Off. of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Servs., 60 AD3d 1142, 1143-1144 [3d Dept 2009], lv denied 12 NY3d 712 [2009]; City of New York v State of New York, 46 AD3d 1168, 1169 [3d Dept 2007], lv denied 10 NY3d 705 [2008[; Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641, 642 [3d Dept 2007]; Sidoti v State of New York, 115 AD2d 202 [3d Dept 1985]). While claimant characterizes the instant claim as one for money damages, it is clear that resolution of the matter will require review of the Comptroller's determination regarding claimant's application for retirement benefits, which this Court lacks jurisdiction to do (see Feuer, 101 AD3d 1550; Cunningham v State of New York, Ct Cl, April 28, 2004, Sise, P.J., claim No. 108759, UID No. 2004-028-525; Mruczek v State of New York, Ct Cl, July 17, 2003, Collins, J., claim No. 105770, UID No. 2003-015-339).(1)

This conclusion is further supported by the provisions of Retirement and Social Security Law 74 vesting "exclusive authority to determine all applications for any form of retirement or benefit[s]" in the State Comptroller (Retirement and Social Security Law 74 [b]; see Matter of Schwind v McCall, 277 AD2d 695, 696 [3d Dept 2000]; Matter of Dreher v DiNapoli, 121 AD3d 1145, 1146 [3d Dept 2014]; Lade v Levitt, 33 AD2d 956, 957 [3d Dept 1970], appeal dismissed 27 NY2d 532 [1970]) and limiting judicial review to proceedings in the Supreme Court pursuant to CPLR article 78 (Retirement and Social Security Law 74 [d]; see Flaherty v McCall, 262 AD2d 890 [3d Dept 1999]; Goodman v Regan, 151 AD2d 958 [3d Dept 1989]).

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

October 22, 2019

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of motion dated March 19, 2019;
  2. Affirmation in support dated March 19, 2019, with Exhibits A-F;
  3. Undated, unsworn response to motion filed May 7, 2019, with attachments.

1. Unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the internet at: www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.