New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DRAKEFORD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-001-026, Claim No. 102148, Motion No. M-61578


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The claim names "The State of New York, Division of Parole" as defendant. The Court sua sponte has amended the caption to reflect the only proper defendant, the State of New York (see, Court of Claims Act § 9).
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Josephine Drakeford and Quintin Xavier Drakeford, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Grace A. Brannigan, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 28, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read and considered on defendant's motion for an order of dismissal: Notice of Motion, dated April 3 and filed April 6, 2000; Affirmation in Support of Grace A. Brannigan, Esq., AAG, dated April 3 and filed April 6, 2000, with annexed Exhibits A-E; Affidavit in Opposition (improperly captioned "Notice of Cross Motion") of Josephine Drakeford and Quintin Xavier Drakeford, dated April 2000 and filed May 1, 2000, with annexed Exhibits A-K; and the claim, dated February 1 and filed March 20, 2000, with annexed Exhibits A-QQ. The voluminous claim in this action sets forth twenty-five causes of action, all of which are alleged to have arisen on September 25, 1999 (claim, dated February 1 and filed March 20, 2000 ["claim"], p 23). A notice of intention to file a claim, which listed only Josephine Drakeford as claimant, was served on defendant State of New York ("defendant" or "the State") on October 1, 1999 (Affirmation of Grace A. Brannigan, Esq., AAG, dated April 3 and filed April 6, 2000 ["Brannigan Aff."], Exhibit A, p 2). This latter document contains a more concise statement of the facts giving rise to the action:
On Saturday, September 25, 1999 a parole officer unlawfully entered my home, stating he was going to take a urine sample from my son, Quintin X. Drakeford. This is perpetration of a fraud since Quintin is a corrections officer who is being forced to represent himself as a parolee. Additionally, Tuesday, September 22, 1999 a parole officer entered my home. These unlawful entries are being made constantly.
On October 28, 1999, a second notice of intention to file a claim, this time listing both Josephine Drakeford and Quintin Xavier Drakeford as claimants, was served on the Attorney-General (Brannigan Aff., Exhibit A).[1] The facts recited in this second notice of intention were similar, but not identical, to those set forth in the earlier document:
On 9-25-99 at approximately 8:55 a.m. a parole officer unlawfully entered our home stating he was going to take a urine sample of Quintin. I was told I had to leave the bathroom in order for the sample to be taken. Parole criminally trespassed on our property. Because Parole has entered our home many times, harassing us and conspiring with the N.Y.S. Dept. of Corrections, and the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, Parole's conduct include interference, undue influence, coercion/duress and false representation.

The claim was subsequently served on the Attorney-General on March 1, 2000 (Brannigan Aff., Exhibit B), and filed with the Court on March 20, 2000.

As a preliminary matter, the Court denies so much of defendant's motion as seeks dismissal of the claim in its entirety as untimely (Brannigan Aff., ¶ 6). Counsel for defendant asserts that the date of September 25, 1999 was inserted into the claim "probably in order for the claim to be timely" and implies that the true accrual date was much earlier; i.e., April 12, 1999 (cf., claim, ¶ 3); however, at least one of the events underlying this claim allegedly occurred in September 1999: that date is recited in both notices of intention, in the claim and in several of the exhibits annexed to the claim (claim, Exhibits S, T). At least for that portion of the claim accruing on that date, service of the notice of intention and service and filing of the claim were timely (Court of Claims Act §§ 10 [3], [3-a]).

There is considerably more merit to defendant's assertion that the notice of intention failed to preserve claimants' right to bring many of the causes of action set forth in the claim (Brannigan Aff., ¶ 7). The factual allegations contained in the October 28, 1999 notice of intention (see n 1, supra), which are quoted above, are reasonably read only to assert causes of action for trespass and harassment and, arguably, conspiracy. Defects such as lack of subject matter jurisdiction or demands for improper remedies may vitiate some of the numerous causes of action set forth in the claim; however, the following causes of action are untimely even if properly brought in this Court: First (violation of Fourth Amendment rights); Second (false arrest); Fourth (malicious prosecution); Fifth (abuse of legal process); Sixth (false arrest); Seventh (official misconduct); Eighth (harassment unrelated to the September 1999 incident); Ninth (interference with business and social life); Tenth (entrapment); Eleventh (allegations of conspiracy unrelated to the September 1999 incident); Twelfth ("false pretenses"); Thirteenth (undue influence unrelated to the September 1999 incident); Fourteenth (intentional infliction of emotional distress); Fifteenth (unspecified tortious scheme); Sixteenth (coercion unrelated to the September 1999 incident); Seventeenth (malicious [false] arrest); Eighteenth (falsification of public records); Nineteenth (false arrest and entrapment); Twentieth (alteration of public records); Twenty-First (falsification of a criminal record); Twenty-Second (submission of falsified records); Twenty-Third (tampering with physical evidence and tampering with witnesses); Twenty-Fourth (compelling certain behavior unrelated to the September 1999 incident); and Twenty-Fifth (interference with Josephine Drakeford's employment and interference with Quintin Drakeford in ways unrelated to the September 1999 incident).

The only timely and therefore potentially viable cause of action is the Third, which alleges that defendant (more accurately, defendant's employees) knowingly entered the home of claimants without probable cause and without any legal right to be there. The other objections raised by defendant--immunity for quasi-judicial decision (Brannigan Aff., ¶ 5), lack of jurisdiction to review administrative determinations (id.), res judicata relating to a prior Supreme Court proceeding (id., ¶¶ 11 - 13), or lack of jurisdiction over civil rights claims (¶ 14)--are not relevant to this straightforward tort claim.

Accordingly, the Court grants defendant's motion to dismiss Causes of Action First through Second and Fourth through Twenty-Fifth; and denies defendant's motion to dismiss the Third Cause of Action. In the interest of expediting this pro se matter, the claim is hereby deemed to be amended so that its paragraph 2 (which contains all of the substantive allegations and all twenty-five causes of action) consists only of those allegations on pages 3 and 4 comprising the Third Cause of Action.

June 28, 2000
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

Only the second notice of intention therefore provides the jurisdictional basis for claimants' subsequent claim.