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To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Pass Upon Claims

For Alleged Damages Caused in Connection With the Con-
struction of the Improved Champlain, Erie and Oswego
Canals
STATE OF New YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 13, 1920 Memorandum filed with Senate bill, Int. No. 1007, Printed No, 1755, entitled :

"An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the claims for damages suffered by reason of the removal and destruction of water mains from highways and private rights of way by the state of New York in the construction of the improved Champlain, Erie and Oswego canals, pursuant to chapter one hundred and forty-seven of the laws of nineteen hundred and three, and to chapter seven hundred and fortysix of the laws of nineteen hundred and eleven, in connection with furnishing proper terminals and facilities

for barge canal traffic, and to render judgment therefor.” Not APPROVED.

The right of municipalities to construct and maintain water systems in its streets and highways is a matter of legislative franchise or grant, and as indicated in connection with the claim of the town of Herkimer such franchise is always subject to be destroyed or, interfered with by the State in the performance of another public work or improvement. Under the law as it now stands the claimants referred to in this act have no legal status and no right of action against the State. So that the effect of the bill is to create new causes of action against the State where none existed. It may also be observed that there is no limitation in time to claims which may be presented under this act, and it covers by its terms all transactions of the character indicated back to the time of the commencement of the construction of the canal improvement. As a practical proposition it would be absolutely impossible for the State now to procure any evidence by way of defense as against any such claim. In fact, the act by its terms deprives the State of any defense except that of showing that no damage was occasioned in the manner specified. The bill is, therefore, disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Pass Upon the Claims of John S. Armstrong and Dory B. Trowbridge STATE OF NEW YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 13, 1920 Memorandum filed with Senate bill, Int. No. 1278, Printed No. 1516, entitled :

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"An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the alleged claims of John S. Armstrong and Dory B. Trowbridge, copartners doing business under the firm name of Armstrong and Trowbridge, against the state of New York, for alleged increase in the cost of labor, material and the transportation of materials incurred after April sixth, nineteen hundred and seventeen, in the doing and performance of contracts for constructing the Liberty-Woodburne, part two, county highway, Sullivan county, known as contract number fourteen hundred and sixty-three, for constructing the Napanoch-Montela county highway, Ulster county, known as contract number six hundred and three, and for constructing the Port Jervis-Sullivan county line, part two, county highway, Orange County, known as contract number four hundred and forty-eight, and to

render judgment therefor.” Not APPROVED.

This bill is intended to have the Court of Claims pass on the alleged claim of Armstrong & Trowbridge for contracts on the State highways. The bill purports to bring three specific contracts under the provisions of chapter 459 of the Laws of 1919. It is certified to me by the Highway Department that only two of such contracts could, under any circumstances, be brought under the aforesaid chapter. To allow the claimant to go before the Court of Claims on the other highway, not under the provisions of the law, would open the door for a large number of contracts which were completed under the same circumstances and which would be equally entitled to be considered by the Court of Claims, if this one were to be so considered.

It being impossible to separate the items in the bill, I am, therefore, compelled to disapprove of them all. The bill is, therefore, disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Hear the Claims

of the Fred Pierce Sand Company STATE OF New YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 13, 1920 Memorandum filed with Senate bill, Int. No. 1186, Printed No. 1385, entitled : "An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the claim of Fred Pierce Sand Company against the state for damages alleged to have been sustained by it by reason of the failure of the state, its officers, servants and contractors to maintain navigation on the Oswego canal during the construction of the barge canal in the years nineteen hundred and twelve and nineteen hundred and thirteen, and to render judgment therefor."

Not APPROVED.

This is a rather unique claim bill and sets forth a claim on the part of Fred Pierce Sand Company against the State for failure to keep the Oswego canal open during its reconstruction. If this bill were to receive executive approval it would establish a precedent very dangerous to the State. The canals are entirely free of toll and existing statutes forbid the allowance of claims for damages arising on account of navigation of them. It was the intention of the State, undoubtedly, to offer them to the public for use at the public's risk. The bill is, therefore, disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Hear the Claims of Walter L. Stillwell, George Girard and Edna Brush STATE OF New YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 13, 1920 Memorandum filed with Senate bill, Int. No. 928, Printed No. 1041, entitled :

“An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the alleged claims of Walter L. Stillwell, George Girard and Edna Brush against the state for damages alleged to have been sustained by them while being forced to aid the police of the city of New

York in the capture of dangerous criminals. Not APPROVED.

This bill confers jurisdiction upon the Court of Claims to hear the claims of certain people who claim to have been injured while assisting the police of the city of New York in the capture of dangerous criminals. : There is a grave question in my mind whether, under any circumstances, this could be made a claim against the State. Certainly the State is not in any position to defend itself against such a claim. If assistance was actually given and there is any moral obligation, although it may not be a legal or valid claim against the city, it can be taken care of under section 246 of the Greater New York Charter. For these reasons the bill is disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Hear the Claim

of Lewis P. Maxim
STATE OF New YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 18, 1920 Memorandum filed with Assembly bill, Int. No. 449, Printed No. 476, entitled :

"An Act to confer jurisdiction on the court of claims to hear,

try and determine the claim of Lewis P. Maxim against the state, for damages alleged to have been sustained by him on November first, nineteen hundred and eighteen,

and to render judgment therefor.” Not APPROVED.

This bill purports to confer jurisdiction on the Court of Claims to hear, try and determine a claim against the State for damages alleged to have been sustained by one Lewis P. Maxim, while riding on the State highway.

The Highway Department certifies to me that at the point of this accident the roadway is twenty feet wide, from one edge of the macadam to the other, with a four-foot shoulder on each side, making a safe roadway fully twenty-eight feet wide. The accident happened on a clear, straight stretch of road, and the Highway Department denies any contention that there was any dangerous condition.

I am unable to understand upon what theory the State should be called upon to defend an action of this character. The bill is, therefore, disapproved..

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Hear the Claim

of Thomas Holahan
STATE OF New YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 18, 1920 Memorandum filed with Assembly bill, Int. No. 1228, Printed No. 2143, entitled :

"An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the alleged claim of Thomas Holahan against the state for additional expense incurred by him in connection with the construction or improvement of the Fancher-Brockville road, in the county of

Orleans. Not APPROVED.

This is a claim for damages alleged to have been suffered by a contractor in the breaking of a culvert upon a road under construction.

The contract was let June 12, 1915, and the final estimate paid April 30, 1917, indicating the completion of the road in the fall of 1916. The matters concerning this claim have not been brought to the attention of the State officers and were not so brought at the time. It would be impossible now for the State to properly defend the claim, which in any event seems to have little merit. The bill is, therefore, disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

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To Confer Jurisdiction on Court of Claims to Hear the Claim of

Edward Crowe and Daniel J. Walsh
STATE OF NEW YORK — EXECUTIVE CHAMBER

Albany, May 18, 1920 Memorandum filed with Assembly bill, Int. No. 538, Printed No. 573, entitled :

“An Act to confer jurisdiction upon the court of claims to

hear, audit and determine the alleged claim of Edward Crowe and Daniel J. Walsh, a copartnership doing business under the firm name of Crowe and Walsh, against the State of New York, for damages occasioned by the alleged illegal and unwarranted cancellation by the state of a contract known as the 'Truxton DeRuyter, part three, state highway number fifty-four hundred and seventy-two,' and for retained balances under final certified estimates, and for compensation for damages, work, labor and materials, and to render judgment

therefor.Not APPROVED.

By this bill jurisdiction is conferred upon the Court of Claims to hear an alleged claim growing out of the cancellation of a contract for the construction of a State highway in July, 1916.

This work was cancelled by the Commissioner of Highways at that time for lack of progress. Thereafter an action was brought against the contractor by the Attorney-General to recover damages for increased cost of construction. In that action the jury found against the State, and judgment of dismissal was entered. Now, it is sought, on behalf of these claimants, to progress this claim in the Court of Claims.

It seems that failure to make any claim against the State until long after the cancellation of the work in progress, and until after the State itself had brought an action for damages, indicates that there is not sufficient merit in this bill for the State to waive the ordinary safeguards enacted for its protection. The bill is therefore disapproved.

(Signed) ALFRED E. SMITH.

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