New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-011-537, Claim No. 101345, Motion No. M-61288


Synopsis

Defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim is granted.

Case Information

UID:
2000-011-537
Claimant(s):
WILLIE JOHNSON
Claimant short name:
JOHNSON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
101345
Motion number(s):
M-61288
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Thomas J. McNamara
Claimant's attorney:
Steven J. Plofsky, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Michael W. Friedman, Esq., of counsel)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

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

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


Defendant has moved for summary judgment dismissing the claim. On August 5, 1999, Claimant was arrested by officers of the New York City Police Department and charged with violation of Vehicle & Traffic Law §§509 and 511. The claim alleges false arrest, malicious prosecution and negligence on the part of the State, through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in maintaining records that erroneously indicated Claimant's driver's license had been suspended or revoked and which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of Claimant.

To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must tender evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to justify the direction of summary judgment in his or her favor whereupon the burden shifts to the party opposing the motion to raise a triable issue of fact (Hackstadt v Hackstadt, 194 AD2d 908).

The motion for summary judgment has two aspects. The first is addressed to the allegations of false arrest and malicious prosecution. A cause of action for false arrest must be supported by proof that the Defendant confined the Claimant (Broughton v State of New York, 37 NY2d 451) but as alleged in the claim, the arrest was made by officers of the New York City Police Department and not by employees of the State. In addition, a claim for malicious prosecution requires proof that the defendant initiated the criminal proceeding against Claimant

(

Colon v City of New York
, 60 NY2d 78) but as with the claim for false arrest, this essential component of the cause of action is not attributed to employees of Defendant. Defendant merely provided information to the police and since there is nothing to indicate that the State commenced the proceeding against Claimant or instigated the arrest, summary judgment dismissing those causes of action is appropriate (Eisenkraft v Armstrong, 172 AD2d 484).

The portion of the motion addressed to the cause of action for negligence is based on the decision in Williams v State of New York, 90 AD2d 861. As alleged in the claim the DMV was negligent in failing to maintain accurate records with respect to the status of Claimant's license and in carelessly and recklessly providing inaccurate information to other agencies including the New York City Police Department. No cause of action in negligence arises solely from maintaining internal DMV records since no damage to Claimant could result until the information is relied upon by some outside agency which takes action detrimental to Claimant (Roland Pietropaoli Trucking v Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 100 AD2d 680, Levine, J. dissenting). In reality the cause of action is one for negligent misrepresentation which requires a showing that Claimant has relied to his detriment on information given to him (Williams v State of New York, 90 AD2d 861, 862). Here, the police and not Claimant relied on the misrepresentation that his license was under suspension. Accordingly, the cause of action alleging negligence should be dismissed.

The motion for summary judgment is granted and the claim is dismissed in its entirety.

June 15, 2000
Saratoga Springs, New York

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



Papers Considered:

1. Notice of Motion dated February 28, 2000.
2. Affirmation of Michael W. Friedman, Esq., dated February 28, 2000.