New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WIGGINS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-015-077, Claim No. 97815, Motion No. M-61927


Synopsis


The State has not waived its sovereign immunity in regard to claims seeking punitive damages only.

Case Information

UID:
2000-015-077
Claimant(s):
TIMOTHY WIGGINS
Claimant short name:
WIGGINS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
97815
Motion number(s):
M-61927
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Timothy Wiggins, Pro se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Dennis M. Acton, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 29, 2000
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

The motion of the defendant for an order pursuant to CPLR 3212 dismissing the claim for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a cause of action is granted. This is a claim by a former inmate appearing pro se to recover for an alleged violation of his constitutional rights to due process of law and equal protection with respect to events which occurred at Walkill Correctional Facility. The first cause of action, set forth in paragraph two of the claim, alleges that the claimant's rights were violated when he was denied job assignments which required "outside clearance" based upon a determination that his history of violence and conviction of manslaughter in the second degree precluded such assignments. There is no date set forth in paragraph two of the claim. Paragraph three of the claim alleges that the claimant's right to due process of law was violated commencing on December 23, 1996 when he was placed in a double occupancy unit "for over six (6) months, 4 months longer than the required stay in the double occupancy unit". Both causes of action seek relief in the form of punitive damages.

As defense counsel argues, the first cause of action concerning job assignments is jurisdictionally defective in that "the time the cause of action contained therein accrued" is not set forth as required by section 11 (b) of the Court of Claims Act (Park v State of New York, 226 AD2d 153; see also Ibekweh v State of New York, 259 AD2d 397). Both theories of recovery fail to state a claim within the jurisdiction of this Court as it is settled law that the State has not waived its sovereign immunity for claims seeking solely punitive damages (Sharapata v Town of Islip, 56 NY2d 332). This claim does not state a cause of action within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court of Claims.


August 29, 2000
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:

  1. Notice of motion dated June 14, 2000;
  2. Affidavit of Dennis M. Acton sworn to June 14, 2000, with exhibits.