New York Court Records
How Does the New York Court of Claims Work?
Located across 9 locations in New York, the Court of Claims serves as a state-wide trial court responsible for litigating claims of monetary damages against any New York state agency, board, or commission. The court of claims also serves as an exclusive forum for civil damages against other state public agencies such as the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the City University of New York, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Cooperation, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and the New York State Power Authority.
The New York Court of Claims Act waives the state government’s sovereign immunity to liability and legal action. This law furnishes the Court of Claims with exclusive jurisdiction in civil claims where the defendant is the state government and not individual entities, county, city, or town government. Typically, the Court of Claims Judges has the power to provide relief to aggrieved claimants in the following case types:
- Negligence resulting in personal injury, property damage, or both
- Breach of contract cases
- State appropriation claims
- Wrongful imprisonment cases
- Wrongful death cases
- Intentional tort cases
Judges of the New York Court of Claims are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. These judges, 86 in number, stay in office for a period of 9 years, after which they may be re-appointed or replaced. To be qualified to serve as a Court of Claims Judge, a nominee must be an attorney admitted to practice law in New York and less than 70 years of age, the mandatory retirement age for all judges in New York.
Some Court of Claims Judges also serves as Acting Justices of the Supreme Court to curtail the large caseload borne by the Criminal Term of the New York Supreme Court. Generally speaking, the method of selecting Supreme Court judges and Court of Claims judges differ. While judges of the court of claims are appointed, Supreme Court judges maintain elected positions. As such, it is easier for legislators to vote and increase the number of Court of Claims Judges to match increases in pending criminal (felony) offenses.
Decisions of cases filed in the Court of Claims from early 2000 to the present are available via a searchable database featured on the court’s official website. Records of cases filed in the court of claims are not remotely available. Interested persons are required to visit or post mail to the Chief Clerk’s office in Albany. Before exploring any of the provided request options, It is wise to contact the clerk’s office beforehand to ascertain the local request guidelines and applicable search/copy fees. The physical, mailing, and contact information of the clerk is listed below:
Robert Abrams Building for Law & Justice
P. O. Box 7344
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: (518) 432–3411
The locations of the 9 chambers of the Court of Claims where designated judges sit and hear cases include: