The Fourth Department affirmed the Court of Claims’ dismissal of an action for failure to comply with the statutory service-of-claim-by-certified-mail requirement. The court noted that the court never gained subject matter jurisdiction and, therefore, the CPLR 3211 (e) waiver provision, which addressed personal, not subject matter, jurisdiction, did not apply:
…[C]laimants served their claim on the Attorney General by regular mail instead of by certified mail, return receipt requested, as required by Court of Claims Act § 11. Defendant’s answer raised the defense that the court lacked, inter alia, subject matter jurisdiction based on claimants’ improper service, and defendant later moved to dismiss the claim on that ground. Claimants opposed the motion and cross-moved for an order deeming the service corrected or disregarded pursuant to CPLR 2001. The court granted defendant’s motion and denied claimants’ cross motion, and we now affirm.
Court of Claims Act § 11 (a) (i) provides that a party seeking to file a claim against the State of New York must serve a copy of the claim upon the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested. It is well settled that “nothing less than strict compliance with the jurisdictional requirements of the Court of Claims Act is necessary” … . Inasmuch as the claim herein was served by regular mail, the court was deprived of subject matter jurisdiction and thus properly dismissed the claim … . Contrary to claimants’ contention, defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground of improper service, made approximately 20 months after service of its answer, was not precluded by the 60-day waiver provision of CPLR 3211 (e). The failure to comply with the service requirements in the Court of Claims Act “result[s] not in a failure of personal jurisdiction, . . . but in a failure of subject matter jurisdiction[,] which may not be waived”… . Zoeckler…, v State of New York, 883, 4th Dept 9-27-13