New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WASHINGTON v. NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION OF CORRECTION and NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, #2001-016-014, Claim No. 103463, Motion No. M-62893


Synopsis


Claim of sexual assault at Suffolk County jail was dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2001-016-014
Claimant(s):
DORELL A. WASHINGTON
Claimant short name:
WASHINGTON
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION OF CORRECTION and NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103463
Motion number(s):
M-62893
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
ALAN C. MARIN
Claimant's attorney:
Gary P. Field, Esq.
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Alan B. Berkowitz, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 27, 2001
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

In his underlying claim, Dorell A. Washington asserts that after being convicted in the "Suffolk County County Court," he was incarcerated in the Suffolk County Correctional Facility where he was sexually assaulted. He asserts that the assault was a result of overcrowding at the jail and the failure to separate him from inmates with known violent propensities. He also asserts that he was denied medical care at the jail. This is defendant's motion to dismiss on the grounds, inter alia, that the claim was untimely and that this Court lacks jurisdiction.

The Court of Claims Act only grants this Court jurisdiction over specified suits against the State of New York. A small number of other entities are subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims via explicit statutory authority, for example, the New York State Thruway Authority by Public Authorities Law §361-b and the senior colleges of the City University of New York by Education Law §6224(4). However, there is no statutory authority subjecting Suffolk County or its jails or correction employees to the jurisdiction of this Court.

Suffolk County Correctional Facility is not included in the designation of state correctional facilities set forth in Part 100, Volume 7 of the Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, and it is not owned, operated or maintained by the State of New York. As to the jail's correction officers, it is well established that while under certain circumstances the state may be held liable for the actions of its officers, the state is not liable for the actions of local officers. See, e.g., Fisher v State of New York, 10 NY2d 60, 217 NYS2d 52 (1961); Whitmore v State of New York, 55 AD2d 745, 389 NYS2d 443 (3d Dept 1976); Public Officers Law §2.

While it cannot be ruled out that under the authority of article 5 of the Correction Law ("Coordinated Use of State and Local Correctional Institutions"), the possibility exists that there could be some fact scenario under which the acts or omissions of Suffolk County correction officers might be imputed to the state, no such scenario arises in this case; no allegations have been made which suggest any state involvement. In view of this finding that the Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over Washington's claim, the remaining grounds for defendant's motion need not be reached.

For the foregoing reasons, having reviewed the parties' submissions,[1] motion no. M-62893 is granted and claim no. 103463 is dismissed.



February 27, 2001
New York, New York

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




  1. [1]Along with the pleadings, the following were reviewed: defendants' notice of motion with affirmation in support and Exhibit A; claimant's affirmation in opposition; and defendant's reply affirmation.