New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HAMILTON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-014-520, Claim No. 99780, Motion Nos. M-61660, CM-61746


Defendant's motion to dismiss the claim which alleges acts of Correction Officers, who are not State officials, is denied. The claimant's motion to amend the claim to allege that the acts were those of Court Officers, is granted, in the absence of any showing of prejudice to the defendant.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
S. Michael Nadel
Claimant's attorney:
Arthur V. Graseck, Jr.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: John M. Shields, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 17, 2000
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read on the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim, and on the claimant's cross motion to amend the claim: Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support, Exhibit annexed; Notice of Cross Motion, Affirmation, Exhibits annexed; Reply Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss; Sur-Reply Affirmation. Filed papers: Claim, Answer.

The claim alleges that corrections officers at the Suffolk County Court were negligent in placing the claimant in a holding cell, where he was assaulted by other prisoners. The defendant moves to dismiss the claim on the ground that it fails to state a cause of action against the State of New York. The claimant cross moves to amend the claim to allege that it was court officers who were responsible.

The principal basis of the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim is that corrections officers are County, not State, officials. Additionally, the Attorney General argues that the State cannot be held liable for an assault upon the claimant by other prisoners.

The defendant's perfunctory opposition to the claimant's cross motion to amend the claim is insufficient to warrant its denial. "If there is no prejudice to the other side, leave to amend must be freely given." Siegel, NY Prac §237, at 378 (3d ed); CPLR 3025(b). See, also, Cannon v State of New York, 163 Misc 2d 623. The defendant has not suggested any prejudice which might result from the proposed amendment to the claim.

Whether or not the alleged actions of the court officers constitute a basis for liability is a factual issue which cannot be determined upon the defendant's submission.

In accordance with the foregoing, the defendant's motion is denied; the claimant's cross motion to amend the claim is granted. The claimant shall serve and file an amended claim, in the form annexed to his submission, within 30 days of receipt of a filed copy of this Order.

August 17, 2000
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims