This is the motion of pro se claimant Reginald McFadden for permission
to file a late claim pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (the
"Act"). McFadden's proposed claim arises from his confinement in administrative
segregation which commenced at Sullivan Correctional Facility in March of 1996.
McFadden claims that his administrative segregation hearing was not timely and
that he was confined on the basis of false and misleading information. He also
complains of the review procedure conducted during his ongoing
In determining whether to grant this motion, the six factors enumerated in the
Act must be considered. The factors are not necessarily exhaustive, nor is the
presence or absence of any
: whether (1) the defendant had
notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (2) the defendant had an
opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; (3) the
defendant was substantially prejudiced; (4) the claimant has any other
available remedy; (5) the delay was excusable and (6) the claim appears to be
The first, second and third factors -- whether the state had notice of the
essential facts, whether the state had an opportunity to investigate and whether
the state would be prejudiced by the granting of this motion are intertwined and
may be considered together. See William Kleen, The New York State Court of
Claims: A Procedural Guide, 19 Trial Law Q 49, 59 (Spring 1988); Avila v
State of New York, 131 Misc 2d 449, 500 NYS2d 626 (Ct Cl 1986). More than
four years have passed since claimant's hearing and initial segregation.
However, this case does not involve transitory conditions such as those that
might be found in personal injury cases and which might make the passage of time
dispositive. On the other hand, claimant has made no showing in his papers (or
even addressed the issue) that defendant had any notice of this claim prior to
the service of his motion. On balance, I cannot find that claimant satisfies
the notice-opportunity-prejudice factors of the Act.
With regard to an alternate remedy, any remedies McFadden might have would lie
in administrative proceedings or Article 78 proceedings in Supreme Court. As to
excuse, claimant provides nothing beyond a blanket statement that continuous
abuses prevented him from timely filing a claim. This is not sufficient for the
purposes of the Act.
The remaining factor to be considered is merit. 7 NYCRR §301.4(b)
provides that "[a]dministrative segregation admission results from a
determination by the facility that the inmate's presence in general population
would pose a threat to the safety and security of the facility." Section
301.4(a) provides that a hearing "shall be conducted within 14 days of an
inmate's admission to administrative segregation." Claimant asserts that he was
first admitted to administrative segregation on March 20, 1996 and that his
hearing was not conducted until April 4, 1996, i.e., 15 days later.
However, claimant's records show that in fact, the hearing was commenced on
March 27, 1996 (seven days later) and completed on April 4, 1996. See Exhibit A
to the August 2, 2000 affirmation of Earl F. Gialanella. Section 301.4 provides
that the hearing must be conducted within 14 days, not completed,
and no authority otherwise has been advanced. Cf. 7 NYCRR §251-5.1.
Moreover, to the extent that McFadden's claim arises from an untimely hearing,
even assuming, arguendo, that the hearing was one day late, the statute
of limitations on such claim has run, even if the claim is construed to sound in
negligence, which has a three year statute of limitations pursuant to CPLR 214.
Section 10.6 of the Act provides that no late claim motion may be granted with
regard to a claim on which the statute of limitations has run.
To the extent that McFadden's claim arises from alleged false and misleading
information, he has provided no specifics. To the extent that he disagrees
with the decision to confine him, "[c]orrections personnel are entitled to
absolute immunity for those ‘discretionary decisions in furtherance of
general policies and purposes where the exercise of reasoned judgment can
produce different acceptable results.'" Minieri v State of New York, 204
AD2d 982, 613 NYS2d 510, 511 (4th Dept 1994) (citation omitted). "Disciplinary
proceedings in correctional facilities that are conducted consistent with the
applicable rules and regulations are covered with a blanket of immunity. . . The
fact that claimant was ultimately found not guilty of the charge does not give
rise to a viable claim." Brown v State of New York, Claim Nos. 94875
and 94876, unreported decision filed October 27, 1998 (Bell, J.). In this case,
claimant has not even asserted that his confinement status was reversed
administratively or through an Article 78 proceeding. Nor has he made a showing
that any rules and regulations were violated, either with regard to the hearing
or the post-confinement review process.
Matter of Santana v NYS Thruway Authority
, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11, 399 NYS2d 395, 402-03 (Ct Cl 1977) sets out a standard to
ascertain whether a claim appears meritorious: (i) the claim "must not be
patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective" and (ii) upon consideration
of the entire record, including the proposed claim and any exhibits or
affidavits, "there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action
exists." I cannot find that claimant has satisfied this standard.
Accordingly, having reviewed the parties'
, IT IS ORDERED that motion no.
M-61599 is denied.