New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HUNT v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-012-001, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-60765


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim is denied based upon the court's finding that there is no merit to the proposed claim and the statute of limitations has expired.

Case Information

UID:
2000-012-001
Claimant(s):
KEVIN L. HUNT
Claimant short name:
HUNT
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-60765
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
John P. Lane
Claimant's attorney:
Kevin L. Hunt, Claimant pro se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney Generalby: James E. Shoemaker, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 22 , 2000
City:
Buffalo
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following numbered papers were read on claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim:


Motion for Permission to File a Late

Claim and annexed exhibits 1


Affirmation in Opposition 2Claimant alleges that on August 8, 1996, he was indicted for murder, armed robbery and weapons charges arising out of a December 25, 1993 incident in which a taxi driver was killed, and that on January 16, 1998, he was acquitted of the charges. He further alleges that the State of New York was negligent in failing to "seek out the entire truth in this crime, before wrongly accusing [him] of this crime", and seeks damages for "nervous problem, mental anguish, deformation of character and slander."

In support of his application, claimant submitted a form entitled "Inmate[1] Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983," with a United States District Court caption, which contains his factual allegations. Therein, he specifies that he is requesting permission to file claims against: (1) the State Police, in the amount of $5 million; (2) the Dunkirk Police Department, in the amount of $5 million; (3) the District Attorney, in the amount of $10 million; and (4) four State Police officers, two Dunkirk Police Department investigators and the Evening Observer newspaper, in the amount of $1 million.

To the extent that claimant seeks permission to proceed against the Dunkirk Police Department, the District Attorney (a county official), the Evening Observer or any individual defendant, the application must be denied because the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction over such entities and persons. The jurisdiction of the court is limited to claims against the State of New York, and the only allegations properly before the court are those relating to a proposed claim against the State based on the alleged wrongful conduct of the State Police.

In that regard, the defendant correctly notes that there is no legally-cognizable cause of action for negligent investigation of a crime (see, La Mar v Town of Greece, 97 AD2d 955; Jestic v Long Island Savings Bank, 81 AD2d 255; Boose v City of Rochester, 71 AD2d 59). Claimant's remedies under these circumstances are limited to the intentional torts of false arrest, malicious prosecution and slander.

Court of Claims Act §10(6) grants the court discretion to allow a claim to be filed, notwithstanding claimant's failure to have done so within the time periods set forth in paragraphs (1) through (5) of the statute, "at any time before an action asserting a like claim against a citizen of the state would be barred under the provisions of article two of the [CPLR]." The latest possible accrual date of the causes of action claimant seeks to pursue is January 16, 1998, the date he was acquitted, and CPLR 215 sets forth a one-year statute of limitations for actions alleging "false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander, [or] false words causing special damages." Since the instant motion was not made until well after the expiration of that statute of limitations, those causes of action are time-barred and beyond judicial recall.

The court notes parenthetically that had the statute of limitations not prevented the analysis of claimant's application under the guidelines set forth in §10(6), the motion would be denied because, inter alia, claimant's papers do not indicate that the proposed claim appears meritorious (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1), or that claimant had a reasonable excuse for his failure to have timely interposed a claim.

Accordingly, the motion is denied.

February 22 , 2000
Buffalo, New York

HON. JOHN P. LANE
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]Although claimant was acquitted of the charges from which the proposed claim arises, he is currently incarcerated at Upstate Correctional Facility.