New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RITCHIE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-028-101509, Claim No. 102556, Motion No. M-62045


Claim asserting that the State Division of Licensing Services improperly denied claimant's application for a security guard license is dismissed because claimant was aware of all steps needed to obtain a license and the State properly provided an administrative hearing.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption of this action is amended sua sponte to reflect the State of New York as the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Seth Ritchie, pro se
Defendant's attorney:
BY: Kathleen M. Resnick, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 27, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were read on defendant's motion for an order of dismissal.

• abNotice of Motion and Supporting Affirmation of Kathleen M. Resnick, Esq., AAG, filed June 29, 2000, with annexed Exhibits A and B ("Resnick affirmation")

• abAffidavit (captioned "Notice of Motion") in Opposition of Seth Ritchie, pro se, filed July 17, 2000 ("Ritchie affidavit")

• abFiled papers:
• ab Claim, filed June 2, 2000.

This claim, which was filed on June 2, 2000, challenges the State's actions in connection with claimant's attempt to obtain a license to work as a security guard. He alleges that he was denied such a license and fired from two jobs because his criminal record contained reference to a five-year-old conviction. By the instant motion, defendant seeks an order dismissing this action on the ground that the claim fails to state a cause of action that is cognizable against the State of New York.

Claimant's application for security guard registration was denied by the New York State Department of State, Division of Licensing Services (DLS), on February 10, 2000 (Letter from DLS to claimant, attachment to claim).[1] His application was denied because 1) he had been convicted of or arrested for a serious offense as defined by Article 7-A of the General Business Law; 2) he had been convicted of or arrested for a felony or misdemeanor in some fashion related to the specific license or employment being sought; 3) his application contained a material false statement or omission; and 4) the conviction disqualified claimant from registration as a security guard. In addition to setting forth the reasons for denial, the DLS letter advised claimant that he had the right to request a formal administrative hearing before an administrative law judge, in order to review the denial of his application.

On April 19, 2000, after he had requested administrative review, claimant was notified that he would have to obtain a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, a Certificate of Good Conduct, or an Executive Pardon and that he could not receive a license or registration if he did not possess one of those documents (Letter DLS to claimant, attachment to claim). Although claimant argues that DLS' failure to inform him that he needed a Certificate of Relief (or one of the other documents) at the time of his denial was "negligence and improper Administrative Procedure" (claim, ¶ 13), no harm can have resulted from that action because claimant had already applied for a Certificate of Relief even before he was denied registration (Application for Certificate of Relief, executed January 12, 2000, attachment to claim).[2] The remaining allegation of harm is claimant's statement that he "is and was entitled to an Administrative Hearing and should have received such in a timely manner" (claim, ¶ 22). The claim was filed on June 2, 2000.

Defendant's motion to dismiss this claim is based on the fact that subsequent to his bringing this action, claimant did, in fact, receive an administrative hearing. In an affidavit submitted by defendant (Resnick affirmation, Exh B), Lawrence Soronen, Litigation Counsel for the New York Department of State, states that following a delay when the original Notice of Hearing sent to claimant was returned as "unclaimed", the hearing on the denial of claimant's security guard application took place on June 15, 2000. No decision has yet been issued by the Administrative Law Judge who conducted the hearing.

In his submission made in opposition to the instant motion, which was filed on July 17, 2000, claimant acknowledges that he was afforded an administrative hearing by DLS (Complaint, Ritchie v City of New York, Civil Court, Bronx County [undated], attachment to Ritchie affidavit). While claimant may have had a viable cause of action against the State if he were denied the opportunity for such a hearing, there is no factual basis on which the instant claim can rest. Consequently, defendant's motion is granted and Claim No. 102556 is dismissed.

September 27, 2000
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1] A second, identical letter was sent from DLS to claimant on March 6, 2000 (attachment to claim).
[2] From other submissions made in opposition to this motion, it appears that claimant's application for the Certificate of Relief was approved by the Bronx Department of Probation and as of June 6, 2000 was being reviewed by the Department's General Counsel (Order, Supreme Court, New York County, dated June 6, 2000, Joan A. Madden, J., attachment to Ritchie affidavit).