October 17, 2018

Strict compliance with the pleading requirements set out in §11(b) of the Court of Claims Act is required for the Court of Claims to have jurisdiction over the claim

Strict compliance with the pleading requirements set out in §11(b) of the Court of Claims Act is required for the Court of Claims to havejurisdiction over the claim
2018 NY Slip Op 06844, Appellate Division, Third Department

Claimant, acting pro se, appealed an order of the Court of Claims which granted defendant employer's motion to dismiss the claim.

The Appellate Division's decision indicates that Claimant was placed on involuntary leave due pursuant to Civil Service Law §72 to after being found to be unfit to perform her duties and a danger to her coworkers, Claimant was ultimately terminated from her employment in July 2009 and had filed multiple employment-related discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and commenced subsequent federal actions, each of which was dismissed.

In February 2016, Claimant filed a petition with the Court of Claims seeking damages as the result of alleged adverse and discriminatory employment actions taken by, among other government officials and personnel, various employees of her former employer [Defendant]. In lieu of answering, Defendant moved to dismiss the claim, asserting, among other things, that the Court of Claims lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the claim failed to comply with the substantive pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act §11(b).

The Court of Claims granted defendant's motion and Claimant appealed.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Court of Claims' ruling, explaining that §11(b) of the Court of Claims Act requires that "a claim must set forth the nature of the claim, the time when and place where it arose, the damages or injuries and the total sum claimed" in sufficient detail to permit a defendant to investigate and promptly ascertain the existence and extent of its liability."

In contrast, the Court of Claims Act does not require a defendant "to ferret out or assemble information that §11(b) obligates the claimant to allege." Further, said the court, "[s]trict compliance with the pleading requirements contained in Court of Claims Act §11(b) is required, and the failure to satisfy any of the pleading requirements is a jurisdictional defect."

The Appellate Division characterized the claim consisted of "88 prolix paragraphs, raises vague, conclusory and non-linear allegations that lack context and fail to provide a coherent and sufficiently detailed description of the particulars of the claim" that would permit Defendant to investigate and promptly ascertain the existence and extent of its liability. As a result, the Appellate Division ruled that Claimant failed to satisfy the pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act §11(b).

Accordingly, said the Appellate Division, the Court of Claims lacked subject matter jurisdiction and properly granted Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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