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STATEOF NEWYORK COURTOF CLAIMS
                             
JEFFREYMALKAN,
------
Claimant,
-v-
STATEOF NEWYORK(STATE
UNIVERSITYOFNEWYORKAT
BUFFALO),
Defendant.
DreiS/ON NO.
---
__
FILE NO. _____
DATE REC'O _____.
DECISIONAND
ORDER
Claim Nos.
MotionNos.
116355
117676
M-82149
M-82351
FILED
SEP Oe 2013
STATE COURT OF ClAIMS
BEFORE:
APPEARANCES:
ALBANY,  NY
HON.JEREMIAH J. MORIARTYIII
Acting Judgeof the CourtofClaims
ForClaimant:
By:  MarilynRaskin-Ortiz, Esq.
JamesR. Sandner, Esq.
Richard E. Casagrande,Esq.
ForDefendant:
Hon. EricT. Schneiderman
NewYorkStateAttorneyGeneral
By: Wendy E. Morcio
AssistantAttorneyGeneral
The following were read and considered with respect to Defendant's Motion No. M-82149 
for  summary judgment with respect to  Claim No. 116355 (the first claim):
1. Defendant's Notice of Motion and Affidavit of Assistant Attorney General  Wendy 
Morcio  sworn to  September 7, 2012, with annexed Exhibits A-B; 
2.  Opposing Affidavit of Marilyn Raskin-Ortiz, Esq.  sworn to November 12,  2012; 
3.  Claimant's Opposing Memorandum of Law dated November  12,  2012; 
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 2
4. RepJy Affidavit ofAssistant Attorney General Wendy E. Morcio sworn to November
15,2012.
Filed papers: Claim No. 116355 filed January 28,2009; Answer filed March 9,2009.
The following were read and considered with respect to Defendant's Motion No. M-82351
for summary judgment with respect to Claim No. 117676 (the second claim):
1. Defendant's Notice of Motion dated October 25, 2012 and Affidavit of Assistant
Attorney General Wendy E. Morcio sworn to October 26, 2012, with annexed Exhibits A-E;
Opposing Affidavit ofMarilyn Raskin-Ortiz, Esq. sworn to December 7,2012, with
annexed Exhibit A;
3. Opposing Affidavit of Tara Singer-Blumberg sworn to December 7, 2012;
4. Claimant's Opposing Memorandum of Law dated December 7,2012;
5. Reply Affidavit ofAssistant Attorney General Wendy Morcio sworn to December
11,2012, with annexed Exhibits 0-1.
1
Filed papers: Claim No. 117676 filed November 13,2009; Answer filed December 9,2009.
Procedural History
On January 28, 2009, Claimant, Jeffrey Malkan, filed his first claim, Claim No. 116355, in
which he alleged that on October 19, 2006, he entered into a written contract of employment with
the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (StTNY Buffalo Law School). Claimant
further alleged that Defendant breached the contract of employment when it terminated Claimant's
employment as a member of1.t1.e SUNY Buffalo Law School faculty, and that this claim arose upon
receipt, on or about August 30, 2008, of a letter dated August 28, 2008 advising Claimant that his
1 On December 13, 2012, the same day the Court of Claims received and filed Defendant's reply affidavit; the
Court received a letter from Assistant Attorney General Morcio including pages 22 and 23 of the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge with respect to the improper practice charge filed with the Public Employment Relations
Board (PERB). These two pages were accidentally omitted from the PERB decision attached to Assistant Attorney
General Morcio's reply affidavit as Exhibit G. Pages 22 and 23 have been incorporated into Defendant's Exhibit G.
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 3
employment would end. On March 9, 2009, Defendant filed its answer to Claim No. 116355 in
which it alleged, among others, that this Court lacked jurisdiction as Claimant failed to comply with
Court of Claims Act § 11 (b) in that the total sum claimed was not set forth in the claim (Answer to
Claim No. 116355, first defense, 'Motion No. M-82149, Defendant's Exhibit B).
On November 13, 2009, Claimant filed a second claim, Claim No. 117676, in which he
alleged that Defendant breached the same written contract by terminating his employment as a
member of the faculty of SUNY Buffalo Law School. Attache-d 'to'Claimant's secona claim as
attachment A was a copy of a letter dated October 19, 2006 which Claimant alleges is the basis of
his breach of contract claim. Unlike the first claim, Claimant's second claim contained a total sum
for each item of damage. Also attached to the second claim as attachment B was a list of damages
or injuries with a monetary amount listed for each item. On December 9, 2009, Defendant filed its
answer to the second claim, Claim No. 117676 in which it alleged, among others, that this Court did
not have jurisdiction as the second claim was untimely filed and served in derogation of section 10
(4) ofthe Court of Claims Act (Answer to Claim No. 117676, seventh affirmative defense, Motion
No. M-82351, Defendant's Exhibit B) ..
By notice ofmotion dated September 7, 2012, Defendant brought Motion No. M-82149 for
summary judgment to dismiss Claimant's first claim, Claim No. 116355, alleging that Claimant
failed to compiy with section 11 (b) ofthe Court of Claims Act by failing to allege the total amount
claimed. It was ultimately agreed by the parties that Motion No. M -82149 would be submitted to the
Court for decision without oral argument. By notice of motion dated October 25,2012, Defendant
brought Motion No. M -82351 for summary judgment to dismiss Claimant's second claim, Claim No.
117676, alleging that the second claim was jurisdictionally defective. Oral argument was heard by
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 4 
the  Court with  respect to  Motion No.  M-82351  only.  Because  both  claims arise  out of the  same 
written contract of employment and because both motions address, to some degree, similar issues, 
the Court has  decided to write one decision addressing both motions. 
Defendant's Motion No.  M-82149 for Summary Judgment to Dismiss Claim No.  116355 
Defendant brought  Motion No.  M-82149  for  summary judgment dismissing  Claim  No. 
116355  as  the  claim failed to  state  a  sum certain in derogation  of section  11  (b)  of the  Court of 
Claims Act.  Pursuant to Court of Claims Act  § 11  (b), 
"The claim shall state the time when and place where such  claim arose, the 
nature  of same,  the  items  of  damage  or  injuries  claimed  to  have  been. 
sustained  and,  except  in an  action to  recover damages  for personal  injury, 
medical,  dental  or  podiatric  malpractice  or VvTongfu1  death,  the  total  sum 
claimed." 
Strict compliance with the substantive conditions set forth in section  11  (b) of the Court of Claims 
Act is  required  as  a condition to  the  State's  waiver of its  sovereign  immunity,  and  the  failure to 
satisfy any of these requirements constitutes a jurisdictional defect (Kolnacki v State ofNew York,
8 NY3d 277 [2007J, rearg denied 8 NY3d 994 [2007J; Lepkowski v State ofNew York, 1 NY3d 201 
[2003D. The failure to  state the total sum claimed in a breach of contract claim, which is not one of 
the claims exempted from the total sum requirement set forth in section 11  (b) as amended (L 2007, 
ch 606), constitutes a jurisdictional defect requiring dismissal of the claim (see Friedman v State of
New York, UID No. 2007-044-563  [Ct Cl,  Schaewe, J., Aug. 23, 2007]).2 
In the claim, it was alleged that the total sum could not be calculated, but that the total sum 
would equal the value ofthe salary and benefits lost. Inopposition to Defendant's motion, Claimant 
2 This  and  other  unreported  Court  of  Claims  d e   i s i ~ n s may  be  found  on  the  Court's  web  site  at 
www.nyscowiofclauDS.state.ny.us. 
Claim Nos.  116355,117676, Motion Nos.  M-82149, M-82351 Page 5
argued that these allegations were sufficient under Eastland Construction, Inc. vState ofNew York,
UID No., 2012-015-346 [Ct CI, Collins, J., June 26,2012]), as section 11 (b) ofthe Court of Claims
Act merely requires that a claim provide enough detail to enable the Defendant to investigate and
ascertain the extent of its liability. In Eastland, however, Defendant was arguing that the breach of
the construction contract claim was jurisdictionally defective because it provided only examples of
the damages claimed. The jurisdictional requirement that the claim contain the total sum claimed was
not even discussed in Eastland. Moreover, about six months earlier when the same Claimant moved
for permission to late file its breach ofa,construction contract claim (see Eastland Construction, Inc.
v State ofNew York, UID No. 2011-015-282 [Ct CI, Collins, 1., Dec. 12,2011]), Judge Collins
mentioned in his decision granting permission to late file, the original contract price and the exact
amount ofdamages claimed. Presumably the contract price and the total amount ofdamages claimed
were included in the proposed claim Judge Collins considered in his earlier Eastland decision. Thus,
neither Eastland decision is relevant herein.
More importantly, contrary to his argument, Claimant should have been able to calculate his
damages in the first claim, Claim No. 116355. In fact, in his second claim, Claim No. 117676,
Claimant set forth a total sum claimed and included, as attachment B, an itemized list of each item
of damage, establishing his ability to calculate damages. Moreover, the Court of Claims docs not
require the State of New York to ferret out infoID1ation like the total sum claimed that is reauired
.  . 
by section 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act (Lepkowski v State ofNew York, 1 NY3d at 208).
Finally, Claimant argues that should the Court conclude that the claim is jurisdictionally
deficient for failing to include the total sum claimed that the claim should be considered as a
sufficient notice of intention to a claim in lieu of a claim. No motion or cross motion for such
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 6
relief is before the Court. Moreover, while section 10 (8) (a) ofthe Court of Claims Act provides that
in certain circumstances a Claimant may apply to the Court for permission to treat a notice of
intention as a claim, there is no equivalent section of the Court of Claims Act permitting the Court
to treat a claim as a notice of intention. It further appears that Claimant always intended Claim No.
116355 to be a claim as he designated it a claim and not a notice of intention and filed and served
the claim
3
(see Abbott 's Big M, Inc. v State o/New York, UID No. 2007-009-045 [Ct Cl, Midey, Jr.,
J., Dec. 20, 2007]).
The failure to include the total sum claimed in the first claim, Claim No. 116355 constitutes
a jurisdictional defect requiring dismissal of the claim (Id.).
Defendant's Motion No. M-82351 for Summary Judgment to dismiss Claim No. 117676
Defendant brought Motion No .. M-82351 for summary judgment to dismiss Claim No.
117676 on the grounds that the claim was untimely served, failed to comply with Court of Claims
Act § 11, is conclusory in nature, and on the grounds that the grievance procedure afforded by the
collective bargaining agreement is the exclusive remedy and/or that the breach ofthe letter contract
should be brought in an Article 78 proceeding in State Supreme Court. Before the Court can address
the gravamen ofthe Claim, the Court must determine whether the claim itself is in proper form to
obtain the Court's jurisdiction (see generally Mujica v State o/New York, UID No. 2003-028-530
r'"'t C
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, Defendant argues that Claimant untimely served and filed his second claim, Claim No.
117676. This affirmative defense was raised with particularity in Defendant's answer in compliance
3 A notice ofintention to file a claim is no longerrequired to be filed with the Court ofClaims (Court of Claims
Act § to [4J; L 1995, ch466).
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 7
with section 11 (c ) of the Court of Claims Act (Answer to Claim 117676, seventh affirmative
defense, Motion No. M-8235I, Defendant's Exhibit B). The State's waiver of sovereign immunity
is conditioned upon Claimant's compliance with the filing and service requirements ofthe Court of
Claims Act (Alston v State ofNew York, 97 NY2d 159 [2001 D. The failure to comply with these
requirements is ajurisdictional defect compelling the dismissal ofthe claim (Ivy vState ofNew York,
27 AD3d 1190 [4th Dept 2006]).
Court of Claims Act § 10 (4) provides that:
"[a] claim for breach ofcontract, express or implied, and any other claim not
otherwise provided for by this section, over which jurisdiction has been
conferred upon the court of claims, shall be filed and served upon the
attorney general within six months after the accrual of such claim ..."
In order to determine if the second claim was timely filed and served, the Court must first address
the issue of the accrual date. Like the first claim, Claimant in his second claim is seeking the salary
and benefits he allegedly lost as a result of a breach of a written letter contract dated October 19,
2006 (Claim No. 117676, attachment A, Motion No. M-8235l, Defendant's Exhibit A). It is further
alleged in the second claim that Claimant was notified by letter dated August 28, 2008 t   ~ a t r.,is
appointment as a professor at the law school would end on August 31,2009, and that his last day of
work would be May 15,2009. Nowhere in the second claim, Claim No. 117676 does Claimant allege
an accrual date. Claimat''1t notes, however, that the claim states that "Claimant's employment was
terminated effective August 31, 2009" (Claim No. 117676, 3, Motion No. M-82351 , Defendant's
Exhibit A), and argues that August 31, 2009 should be the accrual date as Claimant lost no salary
. or benefits until his employment ended.
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 8 
A claim for breach ofcontract accrues when damages are reasonably ascertainable (Richard
A. Hutchens CC, L.L.C v State ofNew York, 59 AD3d 766 [3d Dept 2009],  Iv denied 12 NY3d 712 
[2009]; Greenspan Bros. v State of New York, 122  AD.2d  249  [2d  Dept  1986]).  Applying  this 
principle,  the  Court  of Claims  in  Syrkin v State of New York, UID  No.  2006-030-524  [Ct  CI, 
Scuccimarra, 1., Apr.  5,2006]) held that the claim accrued when notice was given that the Claimant 
therein would not lJe  reappointed as  an Assistant Professor in the Science Department of the State 
University ofNew York Maritime College and not when his current term expired. While Claimant 
rightly notes that the claim in Syrkin was  for  discrimination and not  for  breach of contract,  Judge 
Scuccimarra made it clear in his decision that in setting the accrual at when notice ofterrnination was 
received and not when employment ended, he was applying the principle that a claim accrues when 
damages are reasonably ascertainable (Syrkin v State ofNew York, at p.4.). 
Moreover, it appears that Claimant, initially at least, agreed that the accrual date should be 
when  Claimant  received  notice  that  he  would  not  be  reappointed.  In his  first  claim,  Claim No. 
116355, Claima..tJ.t  alleged "[t]he claim for a breach ofthis contract [the same letter contract dated 
October 19, 2006] arose upon the receipt, on or about August 30, 2008,  of a letter dated August 28, 
2008," to Claimant from the Dean ofthe Law School advising Claimant that his employment would 
end (Claim No.  116355,  3, Motion No. M-82149, Defendant's Exhibit A). Claimant filed his first 
claim on Ja.t1UfuY  28,2009, eight months before he now argues his second claim for the same relief 
accrued. 
Contrary to  his argument,  Claimant's alleged damages  for  breach of the  letter contract of 
October  19,  2006 were reasonably ascertainable in August 2008  when he received notice that his 
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Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351 Page 9
letter contract .dated October 19, 2006. Claimant did not have to wait until his last day of
employment to reasonably calculate his damages. The Court concludes that Claimant's second
breach of contract claim, Claim No. 117676 accrued on August 30,2008 when Claimant received
notice that his employment would end. Because the second claim was filed and served more than six
months after his claim accrued, it is untimely and must be dismissed. In view of the fact that
Claimant's second claim, Claim No. 117676 is dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, Defendant's
remaining grounds for dismissal of this claim have not been considered at this time.
Finally, in the event that Defendant's motion for dismissal of the second claim, Claim No.
117676 is granted, Claimant requests that he be permitted to seek leave to amend the claim.
Unfortunately, no such relief is available. First, there is no motion or cross motion pending for
permission to amend either the first or the second claim. More importantly,. a jurisdictionally
defective claim may not be cured through an amendment (Hogan v State a/New York, 59 AD3d 754
[3d Dept 2009]); 0 'Kane v State o/New York, UID No. 2013-040-017 [Ct Cl, McCarthy, J., Mar.
'-
2013)).
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby
ORDERED,that Defendant's Motion No. M-82149 is granted and Claim No. 116355 is
dismissed; and it is further
ORDER..r:D, that Defendlli'1t's Motion No. M-82351 is granted and Clahl1 No. 117676 is .
dismissed..
Claim Nos. 116355,117676, Motion Nos. M-82149, M-82351
Page 10
Buffalo, New York
August 26, 2013

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