New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

McFADDEN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-016-059, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-61599


Synopsis


Pro se inmate claimant's late claim motion arising from administrative segregation was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2000-016-059
Claimant(s):
REGINALD McFADDEN
Claimant short name:
McFADDEN
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-61599
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Reginald McFadden
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Earl F. Gialanella, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 16, 2000
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

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 segregation.

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 particular one controlling[1]: 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 meritorious.

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' submissions[2], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-61599 is denied.



August 16, 2000
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] See Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV, Inc. v New York State Employees' Retirement Sys. Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement Sys., 55 NY2d 979, 449 NYS2d 185 (1982); Scarver v State of New York, 233 AD2d 858, 649 NYS2d 280 (4th Dept 1996).
  1. [2]The following papers were reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affidavit in support and proposed claim; and defendant's affirmation in opposition with Exhibits A and B.