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New York State Accounting System User Procedures Manual

Volume Name
CONTROLS AND SPECIAL PROCEDURES
Volume
XI
Date
1/31/94
Section Name
Special Payments - Claims for Damages
Section
6.0500


This section provides a uniform method and guidelines for processing and paying small claims against the State for damages to personal property, real property, or personal injuries of employees and other-than employees, without formal legal action in the Court of Claims. In the event the claim against the State cannot be satisfied, the claimant can proceed in accordance with the Court of Claims Act.

ELIGIBLE CLAIMS
  
Claims eligible for payment are those listed in subdivisions 12 through 12f of section 8 of the State Finance Law. These claims are divided into two types: claims not the result of a tort of an employee of the State, and claims resulting from the tort of an employee of the State. A tort is any wrongful act, not involving breach of contract, for which a civil suit can be brought.

Claims Not Resulting from the Tort of an Employee of the State include the following:

  1. Claims approved by the head of any institution in the Department of Mental Hygiene, Department of Correctional Services, Department of Health, or Division for Youth for property destroyed by an inmate, destroyed by a fire, or damage caused by a client within 30 days from the date of escape from such institution.These payments cannot exceed $350. If there is an agreement between the State and an employee organization, claims not exceeding $75, or $150 if otherwise provided by such agreement, may be paid to employees from an established petty cash account.

  2. Claims submitted and approved by the Chairman of the Board of Parole for employees' personal property damaged or destroyed without fault on their part as a result of actions unique to the performance of their official duties.These payments cannot exceed $350. If there is an agreement between the State and an employee organization, claims not exceeding $75, or $150 if otherwise provided by such agreement, may be paid to employees from an established petty cash account.

  3. Claims approved by the Superintendent of State Police for State Police members' personal property damaged or destroyed without fault on their part as a result of actions unique to the performance of police duties, and any claims submitted and approved by the head of a State department or agency having employees in the Security Services Unit or the Security Supervisors' Unit for damages as a result of actions unique to the performance of law enforcement duties.These payments cannot exceed $350. If there is an agreement between the State and an employee organization, claims not exceeding $75, or $150 if otherwise provided by such agreement, may be paid to employees from an established petty cash account.

  4. Claims approved by the chief administrator of the courts for any judge or justice of the unified system or of any non-judicial officer or employee for property damaged or destroyed, without fault on the employee's part, by any party, witness, juror or bystander to court proceedings.These payments cannot exceed $350. If there is an agreement between the State and an employee organization, claims not exceeding $75, or $150 if otherwise provided by such agreement, may be paid to employees from an established petty cash account.

  5. Claims approved by the head of a State department or agency other than those specified in 1 through 4 above for officers' or employees' personal property damaged or destroyed in the performance of official duties, without fault on their part, by an inmate, patient or client of such department or agency after March 31, 1995 and prior to April 1, 1999.These payments cannot exceed $300.

  6. Claims approved by the head of any State department or agency, other than those specified in 1 through 5 above, for officers or employees whose personal property was damaged or destroyed in the performance of official duties without fault on their part after March 31, 1995 and prior to April 1, 1999 and who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.These payments cannot exceed $250 for employees in institutional services unit and administrative services unit, and $350 for employees in the operational services unit.If there is an agreement between the State and an employee organization, claims not exceeding $75 may be paid to officers and employees from an established petty cash account.

  7. Claims approved by the head of any State department or agency for an officer or an employee whose position is designated management or confidential, as well as civilian state employees of the Division of Military and Naval Affairs excluded from collective bargaining, and employees excluded from representation by Civil Service Law, whose personal property was damaged or destroyed in the performance of official duties after March 31, 1988 without fault or negligence on their part.These payments cannot exceed $350. Claims not exceeding $75 may be made from an established petty cash account.

Claims Resulting from the Tort of an Employee of the State include the following.

1. Claims for damages to personal property or real property, or for personal injuries, caused by the tort of an officer or employee of the State while acting in official capacity. Claims exceeding $250 must be approved by the head of the department. Claims exceeding $1,000 must be approved by the head of the department and the Attorney General. Payment for these claims can not exceed $5000. Claims of $250 or less may be paid in accordance with rules and regulations established by the department or agency head from an established agency petty cash account.

2. Claims for damages to personal property or real property, or for personal injuries, caused by the tort of an officer or employee of the State University of New York while acting in official capacity.These payments must be approved by the Chief Administrative Officer of the particular University or an appropriate designee and can not exceed $250.

3. Claims for damages to personal property or real property, or for personal injuries, caused by the tort of a member of an organized militia or an employee in the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, provided the claim is encompassed by a waiver of immunity and assumption of liability.Such claims must be approved by the Adjutant General and the Attorney General, and cannot exceed $2,500.

PROCEDURE FOR SUBMITTING CLAIMS

1. All claims are submitted to the finance officer of the agency on a Standard Voucher (AC92). The voucher must describe the circumstances which resulted in the claim, including the names of any witnesses. It must also contain the value of the damages.

Claims for damages to personal property are based on the reasonable value of the property involved at the time of damage.Claims for the cost of repairing damaged property, such as automobiles, require submission of at least two estimates for such repair. The criteria to determine reasonable value include initial cost, age, and condition of the property at the time of damage. The voucher must also contain a release statement signed by the claimant which releases the State of New York from any future claims for the incident.

2. The finance officer must approve the claim and forward the claim and attachments to the agency head for approval.3. After approval by the agency head, claims that require the Attorney General's approval are forwarded to the Attorney General's Office. Claims that do not require the Attorney General's approval are processed as explained in Step 5.4. The Attorney General's Office will return the claim approved or disapproved.5. Approved claims with documentation attached to the voucher are processed according to standard procedures described in the User Procedure Manual, Volume III, Encumbrances and Expenditures, Section 4.

CLAIMS IN EXCESS OF NOTED DOLLAR AMOUNTS    

Claims in excess of the stipulated dollar limits must be submitted by the claimant to the Court of Claims.

APPEALS FOR DISAPPROVED CLAIMS    

Each agency may, at its own discretion, adopt an appeals process to handle situations where the finance officer or other designated officer disapproves a claim, or where the claimant is not satisfied with the amount approved on the claim. In the event a disapproved claim is subsequently approved after an appeals proceeding, follow the steps outlined above for an approved claim.     If a claim can not be satisfied with the above procedure, the claimant must proceed in accordance with the Court of Claims Act.

PETTY CASH    

Payment of claims from petty cash must have the same supporting documentation as for vouchered payments.     Reimburse the petty cash account in accordance with normal petty cash procedures. (See Section 4.0300 of this manual.)