New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
FELIZ v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2021-032-061, Claim No. 134270, Motion No. M-95275

Synopsis

Case information

UID: 2021-032-061
Claimant(s): E.F., an INFANT Under the Age of Eighteen Years, by His Parents and Natural Guardians LIDIA FELIZ and MANUEL FELIZ, and LIDIA and MANUEL FELIZ, Individually
Claimant short name: FELIZ
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 134270
Motion number(s): M-95275
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney: NO APPEARANCE
Defendant's attorney: Hon. Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Lawrence E. Kozar, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: June 29, 2021
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

The instant claim alleges that the infant claimant was attacked on the steps of the entrance to the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice located in Bronx, New York, by assailants wielding hammers and/or bats on January 16, 2018. Defendant moves to dismiss the claim on the ground that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice and that defendant does not own, operate or maintain the location of the incident. Claimant has not submitted opposition to the motion.

Education Law 2853 (1) (c) provides that charter schools are "independent and autonomous public school[s]" operated as not-for-profit corporations. Subdivision (1) (g) of that statute provides that civil liability will not attach to the charter entity or Board of Regents and that "[n]either the local school district, the charter entity nor the state shall be liable for the debts or financial obligations of a charter school or any person or corporate entity who operates a charter school."

This Court has held on numerous occasions that the Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over charter schools (see Grant v State of New York, et al., UID No. 2017-049-022 [Ct Cl, Weinstein, J., Aug. 18, 2017]; Valerio v The Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, UID No. 2010-016-028 [Ct Cl, Marin, J., May 6, 2010]; Robayo v State of New York, et al., UID No. 2007-028-537 [Ct Cl, Sise, J., Mar. 30, 2007]).(1) As the incident giving rise to the claim took place at a charter school, the Court lacks jurisdiction.

Moreover, defendant has submitted property records indicating that the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit owns the location where the incident took place (Exhibit B, C). The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction with the power to hear claims against the State of New York for the torts of its officers or employees (see NY Const Art VI; Court of Claims Act 9), and other specified entities. As the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit is not an entity that may be sued in the Court of Claims, the claim must be dismissed.

Based upon the foregoing, defendant's unopposed motion to dismiss the claim (M-95275) is granted. Claim number 134270 is dismissed.

June 29, 2021

Albany, New York

JUDITH A. HARD

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Notice of Motion, dated February 18, 2020; and Affirmation in Support, affirmed by Lawrence E. Kozar, AAG on February 18, 2020, with Exhibits A through C annexed thereto.


1. Unpublished decisions and selected orders of the Court of Claims are available at http://www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.