The State University of New York, being a State agency, does not carry liability insurance. However, a procedure has been developed for handling small claims. The procedure requires a Claim and Release Form to be completed by the claimant detailing the nature of the claim. Once the form is received by the Legal Office the claim will be investigated and submitted to Campus Counsel for review. If approved, claims are then processed according to the amount of damage incurred, in compliance with SUNY’s Small Claim Policy. The Court of Claims Act requires filing of a claim or notice of intention within 90 days of the incident. The small claim procedure permits recovery for damages up to the sum of $5,000.00.
If a claim is rejected, it does not preclude a person from seeking legal redress by filing a claim in the Court of Claims for recovery of damages. In either case, payment will be based upon negligence, if any, on the part of the College or College employee. The damage should not be caused by “an act of God” or other accidental occurrence which does not involve fault or breach of duty by a State officer of employee. The individual causing the damage should be an officer or employee of the State of New York, not an independent contractor. The State is not obligated to pay replacement value for damaged personal property and the Attorney General will disapprove any small claim that does not reflect a reasonable amount of depreciation. When processing small claims for the cost of repairing damaged property such as automobiles, the Attorney General requires two estimates for repairs.
If you believe you have a claim, please contact Jill Silvestro, Legal Liaison, for assistance.