New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HARVEY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-016-105, Claim No. 102131, Motion No. M-62293


Reargument motion on claim alleging breach of apprenticeship agreement/wrongful termination from inmate training program was denied

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):

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

Signature date:
December 18, 2000
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The case of claimant Steven Harvey arose from his participation in a micro-computer repair apprenticeship program at Woodbourne Correctional Facility beginning on February 27, 1997. On December 14, 1998, Harvey was transferred to another correctional facility, which did not have an apprenticeship program, effectively terminating his participation. In his claim, he alleged that this breached the "apprenticeship agreement" he had signed in connection with the program. In a June 26, 2000 Decision and Order, this Court dismissed Harvey's claim on the grounds that the very language of the "apprenticeship agreement" contemplated termination prior to completion of the program and that in any event, the decision to transfer inmates between correctional facilities lies within the discretion of the Commissioner of Corrections. This is Harvey's motion for reargument pursuant to CPLR §2221(d) and for permission to amend his claim. CPLR 2221(d)(2) provides in relevant part that a motion for leave to reargue "shall be based upon matters of fact or law allegedly overlooked or misapprehended by the court in determining the prior motion . . ." Harvey asserts that the court mistakenly assumed that he signed a two-page (1997) form of the apprenticeship agreement that contained termination provisions (Exhibit C to his reply papers on the previous motion), whereas he actually signed a one-page (1995) form which contained no provisions as to termination (Exhibit B to his reply papers on the previous motion).

Assuming, arguendo, that Harvey did sign a one-page 1995 version of the agreement, the very terms of that version contemplate that training could be terminated prior to completion of the full 48-month program. See, for example, ¶6, which states that "if the Sponsor is unable to fulfill the obligations under the apprenticeship agreement, the agreement may, with the consent of the Apprentice, be transferred . . ." [emphasis supplied]. See also ¶7 which provides that "[t]he Sponsor agrees to give not less than 5 days notice to the Apprentice of any proposed adverse action . . . Layoff for lack of work does not require an advance notice."

Moreover, as pointed out in the previous decision and order, the decision to transfer inmates between correctional facilities "lies within the discretion of the Commissioner of Corrections . . ." Gregg v Scully, 108 AD2d 748, 749, 485 NYS2d 94, 96 (2d Dept 1985), lv denied, 65 NY2d 601, 491 NYS2d 1026 (1985).

Likewise, "[d]eterminations regarding eligibility for participation in educational and training programs fall within the broad discretionary powers invested in the Department of Correctional Services . . ." Nicholas v Pataki, 233 AD2d 657, 650 NYS2d 317, 318 (3d Dept 1996). See also Allah v Coughlin, 190 AD2d 233, 237, 599 NYS2d 651, 653-54 (3d Dept 1993) ("The Commissioner is obligated to provide a program of education for inmates geared to meet the objective set out in Correction Law § 136, that is, to assist in the return of the inmate to society as a wholesome and good citizen . . . [the] statute does not entitle petitioners to any specific education . . ." (citation omitted).

For the foregoing reasons, having reviewed the parties' submissions,[1] IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-62293 is denied.

December 18, 2000
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]Along with the pleadings and the papers submitted on the previous motion, the following were reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affidavit in support; and defendant's affirmation in opposition with Exhibits A and B.