New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
EL BEY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2020-015-091, Claim No. 135211, Motion Nos. M-96024, M-96025

Synopsis

Claim arising from the service of an income execution warrant by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Case information

UID: 2020-015-091
Claimant(s): YASHUA AMEN SHEKHEM EL BEY
Claimant short name: EL BEY
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) : The caption has been amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 135211
Motion number(s): M-96024, M-96025
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Yashua Amen Shekhem El Bey, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Glenn C. King, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: November 19, 2020
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Defendant moves (motion No. M-96024) to dismiss the claim pursuant to CPLR 3212 (a) (2), (5) and (8) on multiple grounds, including that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide the claim. Claimant opposes the motion and moves (motion No. M-96025) for summary judgment in his favor.

Claimant, proceeding pro se, seeks damages for "ongoing theft and seizure upon Claimant's property" (Amended Claim, 1.2) by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance ("NYSDTF"), which allegedly served an Income Execution Warrant on his employer without due process of law in July 2004.

The law is clear that "[a]s a court of limited jurisdiction, the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief" (Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [3d Dept 2005], citing Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670, 671 [3d Dept 1997]; Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413 [1954]). The threshold question in determining the subject matter of the Court of Claims is "[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recover money, or whether the monetary relief is incidental to the primary claim" (Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988], rearg denied 72 NY2d 1042 [1988]). " 'The second inquiry, regardless of how a claimant categorizes a claim, is whether the claim would require review of an administrative agency's determination - which the Court of Claims has no subject matter jurisdiction to entertain' " (Buonanotte v New York State Off. of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Servs., 60 AD3d 1142, 1143-1144 [3dDept 2009], lv denied 12 NY3d 712 [2009], quoting City of New York v State of New York, 46 AD3d 1168, 1169 [3d Dept 2007], lv denied 10 NY3d 705 [2008]; see also Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641, 642 [3d Dept 2007]).

While the instant claim seeks money damages, resolution of the controversy would require review of an administrative determination made by NYSDTF (see Guy v State of New York, 18 AD3d 936 [3d Dept 2005] [Court of Claims lacked jurisdiction to review determination of the NYSDTF issuing tax compliance levy]; Ouziel v State of New York, 174 Misc 2d 900 [Ct Cl, 1997]). The proper procedural vehicle for challenging the administrative determination is a proceeding pursuant to article 78 of the CPLR, not an action in the Court of Claims (see also Tax Law 2016; see generally Matter of HDV Manhattan, LLC v Tax Appeals Trib. of the State of N.Y., 156 AD3d 963 [3d Dept 2017]). As a result, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear and decide the claim.

Based on the foregoing, defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed. Claimant's motion is denied as academic.

November 19, 2020

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of motion (motion No. M-96024), dated September 24, 2020;
  2. Affirmation in support, dated September 24, 2020;
  3. Amended notice of motion (motion No. M-96025), dated November 6, 2020;
  4. Affidavit in support of motion and in opposition to defendant's motion sworn to November 6, 2020;
  5. Amended claim filed September 24, 2020.