The Appellate Division Second Department issued a decision on July 15, 2015 where it reversed the order of the Court of Claims (Ruderman, J.,) dated November 13, 2013, which dismissed Mazur Brother’s Petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Appellate Division reinstated the Petition as it concluded that service of the Petition without a verification did not constitute an incurable “jurisdictional” defect.
The background of the matter is as follows: Claimant Mazur Brothers Realty, Inc. filed a Verified Petition seeking to recover money owed from New York State’s appropriation and extended use of certain temporary easements over its property. The Attorney General, in accordance with the EDPL, deposited the funds into an interest bearing account after determining that there was conflict in title. In order to get the money released, Mazur Brothers commenced a special distribution proceeding under EDPL 304(E)(1) and Court of Claims Act section 23. Because the petition was served without a proper verification, the State promptly rejected it. Mazur Brothers corrected its omission and provided the proper verification within days. Nevertheless the Court of Claims dismissed the petition concluded that it was jurisdictionally defective due to the missing verified petition, which mandated dismissal.
The Appellate Division reversed the Court of Claims noting that the lack of verification did not deem the petition jurisdictionally defective. Further, the Appellate Division noted that even if the verification had not been supplied, the Court of Claims still should have disregarded this technical infirmity pursuant to CPLR 2001 and 3026 since it did not prejudice a substantial right of the estate. The full decision can be read by clicking here.