New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

McCANTS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-001-044, Claim No. N/A, Motion No. M-61784


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (6) is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2000-001-044
Claimant(s):
ANDRE T. McCANTS
Claimant short name:
McCANTS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF PAROLE
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
N/A
Motion number(s):
M-61784
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Susan Phillips Read
Claimant's attorney:
Andre T. McCants, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Glenn C. King, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 4, 2000
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

The following papers were read and considered on claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 10 (6): Notice of Motion, undated and received May 26, 2000; Affidavit in Support of Andre T. McCants, pro se, dated May 7 and filed May 15, 2000, with annexed Proposed Claim (captioned "Claim"); and Affirmation in Opposition of Glenn C. King, Esq., AAG, dated June 7 and filed June 9, 2000.

Andre T. McCants ("claimant") moves pursuant to section 10 (6) of the Court of Claims Act for permission to file a late claim alleging that he was falsely imprisoned by the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") in violation of Criminal Procedure Law § 410.91. In his proposed claim (annexed to Affidavit in Support of Andre T. McCants, pro se, dated May 7 and filed May 15, 2000), claimant alleges that he was sentenced to parole supervision on April 30, 1999; transferred to a DOCS reception center on May 12, 1999; and transferred to the Willard Drug Treatment Campus on June 1, 1999, twenty days later.

CPL § 410.91 provides that when a court directs a sentence of parole supervision, the criminal defendant shall be remanded "for immediate delivery to a reception center . . . for a period not to exceed ten days" and thereafter placed under the immediate supervision of the State Division of Parole in a drug treatment campus for a period of ninety days prior to release. Claimant seeks to recover $5,000.00 for the additional ten days for which he was confined to the DOCS reception center.

In determining a motion for permission to file a late claim, the Court must consider, among other relevant factors, the six factors set forth in subdivision 6 of section 10 of the Court of Claims Act: 1) whether the delay in filing the claim was excusable; 2) whether the State had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; 3) whether the State had an opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; 4) whether the claim appears to be meritorious; 5) whether the failure to file or serve a timely claim or serve a timely notice of intention resulted in substantial prejudice to the State; and 6) whether the claimant has another available remedy. The Court in the exercise of its discretion balances these factors, and, as a general rule, the presence or absence of any one factor is not dispositive (Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV v New York State Employees' Retirement Sys. Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement Sys., 55 NY2d 979).

There is one exception to this general rule. To satisfy the fourth factor (apparent merit), a claimant need only establish that the proposed claim is not patently groundless, frivolous, or legally defective and that there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1); therefore, it would prove meaningless and futile for the Court to grant a motion to file a late claim falling short of this threshold even if the other factors in Court of Claims Act § 10 (6) favored granting the motion (Savino v State of New York, 199 AD2d 254; Prusack v State of New York, 117 AD2d 729).

CPL § 410.91 authorizes DOCS to retain custody of a criminal defendant for a maximum period of one hundred (100) days: up to ten days at a DOCS reception center and ninety days at a DOCS drug treatment campus. Although claimant has alleged and may be able to prove that he was held at the DOCS reception center for twenty days rather than the ten days specified in the statute, he has not alleged any damage arising from an additional ten days of confinement at the reception center. As stated by counsel for defendant State of New York, "even assuming movant was held for ten extra days prior to the release to the Willard Drug Treatment Center, that does not in itself suggest how claimant was damaged, unless it somehow further delayed his date of eligibility for release" (Affirmation in Opposition of Glenn C. King, Esq., AAG, dated June 7 and filed June 9, 2000, ¶ 12). Claimant does not allege that his total confinement exceeded the 100-day period, nor does he allege that confinement at a reception center is somehow more limiting or onerous than confinement on a drug treatment campus.

There is no liability where there has been no damage. Consequently, the Court finds that the proposed claim is, on its face, legally defective and so lacks merit. The Court denies claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim.


August 4, 2000
Albany, New York

HON. SUSAN PHILLIPS READ
Judge of the Court of Claims