New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MENDEZ v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-011-529, Claim No. NONE, Motion No. M-61252


Synopsis


The proposed claim alleges that certain items of Claimant's personal property were destroyed following his transfer to Upstate Correctional Facility.

Case Information

UID:
2000-011-529
Claimant(s):
HILDEN MENDEZ
Claimant short name:
MENDEZ
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
NONE
Motion number(s):
M-61252
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Thomas J. McNamara
Claimant's attorney:
Hilden Mendez, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Eileen E. Bryant, Esq., Assistant Attorney General)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 15, 2000
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


The proposed claim alleges that certain items of Claimant's personal property were destroyed following his transfer to Upstate Correctional Facility. According to Claimant, he consented to destruction of the property only after he was told that the items were excess property and would have to be donated to charity, sent home or destroyed at the facility.

When considering a motion for permission to late file a claim, the court is required to address six factors enumerated in Court of Claims Act §10(6). The first of those factors is whether there is

a reasonable excuse for the delay in filing. The excuses offered by Claimant, the fact that he is not a lawyer and is Spanish speaking, are not sufficient excuses for the delay particularly in light of the fact that a facility claim was made within a short time after the property was destroyed..

Other factors to be considered are whether Defendant had notice of the essential facts of the claim and an opportunity to investigate. Based upon the early presentation of a facility claim, the State had notice and an opportunity to investigate. As a consequence of the facility claim, the Defendant has not been substantially prejudiced by the delay.

Also to be considered is whether the proposed claim has an appearance of merit. A claim is said to have merit when it is not patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective and there is reason to believe that a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1). Claimant now maintains that inmates are entitled to store unlimited amounts of personal property and that he was misled about this when he consented to destruction of the property. However, he has not offered anything more than a conclusory assertion to establish the right to store unlimited amounts of property and he has not explained how he became aware of this right only after he consented to have the property destroyed.

No adequate alternate remedy is available.

On balance, consideration of the factors in CCA §10(6) weigh against granting the motion and accordingly, it is denied.

May 15, 2000
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. THOMAS J. MCNAMARA
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers considered:

  1. Notice of Motion sworn to the 12th day of February, 2000.
  2. Motion for Permission to File a Late Claim sworn to the 12th day of February, 2000 with exhibits annexed.
  3. Affirmation in Opposition of Eileen E. Bryant, Esq., dated February 28, 2000.