Claimant, an inmate appearing
, seeks compensation for his alleged wrongful disciplinary
confinement and loss of visiting privileges during his incarceration at
Shawangunk Correctional Facility (hereinafter "Shawangunk"). A trial was held
on July 11, 2000 at Sullivan Correctional Facility.
The State of New York (hereinafter "State") moved for an order dismissing the
claim pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) on jurisdictional grounds (Motion No. M-61958).
Due to the last minute timing of the State's motion, the Court advised both
parties in writing that the motion would be returnable at trial. This Decision
will dispose of both the trial and the motion.
The facts are essentially undisputed. This Claim arises from a drug test
conducted by the Department of Correctional Services (hereinafter "DOCS") on
Claimant upon his return from a Family Reunion Program visit with his father and
sister on October 15, 1994. The drug test results proved positive for cocaine.
After a disciplinary hearing, Claimant was found guilty and sentenced to 90 days
in confinement and a loss of visiting privileges. Claimant was released from
confinement "on January 16, 1995".
On June 4, 1996, following administrative review and Claimant's commencement of
an Article 78 proceeding, the Commissioner of Corrections directed that
Claimant's guilty finding be administratively reversed. By way of this action,
Claimant seeks compensation for his wrongful confinement for 90 days and loss of
A Notice of Intention was served on the Attorney General's office on or about
July 25, 1996 by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Claim was served
on the Attorney General's office on August 29, 1997. The Claim was filed in the
Office of the Clerk on September 2, 1997.
The State's Verified Answer was filed in the Office of the Clerk on October
7, 1997. The Court finds the State pleaded the defense of untimeliness, with
sufficient particularity, in its Verified Answer to preserve the issue for
review by way of motion. (Court of Claims Act [hereinafter "CCA"] 11 [c]).
The State's motion to dismiss contends Claimant failed to file or serve a
timely claim or timely serve a notice of intention pursuant CCA 10 & 11.
The State further argues that "[h]ere, the occurrence alleged in the claim to
have caused injury accrued no later than the imposition of disciplinary finding
in November of 1994 and consequential punishment resulting therefrom."
(Affirmation of Saul Aronson, AAG, ¶ 6). In opposition, Claimant argues
the proper date of accrual is June 4, 1996 which is the date the Commissioner of
Corrections administratively reversed his
The Court disagrees with the positions of both the parties. It is well-settled
that a cause of action premised upon wrongful confinement accrues when the
confinement ends. (Ramirez v State of New York
, 171 Misc 2d 677, 680).
Here, Claimant represented his release date was January 16, 1995. Thus,
Claimant had 90 days from that date or until April 16, 1995 to either serve a
notice of intention on the Attorney General's office or to file and serve a
claim pursuant to CCA 10 & 11. However, Claimant did not serve his Notice
of Intention until July 25, 1996 or serve and file the Claim until August 29,
1997 and September 2, 1997, respectively, all of which were well beyond the
statutory ninety day period. It is a fundamental principle of practice in the
Court of Claims that the filing and service requirements contained in CCA 10
& 11 are jurisdictional in nature and must be strictly construed.
(Finnerty v New York State Thruway Auth
., 75 NY2d 721, 722-723).
Consequently, the State's motion to dismiss on which the Court reserved at trial
is now granted and this Claim is dismissed.
The Court considered the following papers in connection with the motion: