New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KNIGHT v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-015-279, Claim No. 104458, Motion No. M-65115


Defendant's motion to dismiss claim converted to motion for summary judgment on 60 days notice to pro se claimant. Portion of motion seeking dismissal of claim for failure to notify defendant of claimant's change of address denied. Portion seeking dismissal of portion of claim alleging violaiton of U.S. Constitution granted.

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):

Claimant's attorney:
Norman Quinn Knight, Pro SeNo Appearance
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Joel L. Marmelstein, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 5, 2002
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


That part of the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim due to claimant's failure to notify the defendant's attorney of his change of address pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 206.6 (f) is denied. That part which seeks to dismiss the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2) is granted in part and denied in part. Defendant's alternative request that the Court convert this motion to a motion for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3211 (c) is granted. The underlying claim apparently seeks to recover money damages for malicious prosecution and the alleged violation of claimant's rights to due process and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The claim alleges that the events at issue occurred on February 6, 2001, February 15, 2001 and March 15, 2001 while claimant was incarcerated at Marcy Correctional Facility and Auburn Correctional Facility and allegedly stemmed from the filing of criminal charges against the claimant in Marcy Town Court. The claim asserts that claimant was not found guilty at an administrative hearing for violating any provision of the penal law and that it was therefore improper to have had criminal charges filed against him in a court of law. He alleges further that unnamed correction officers purportedly recanted their stories and that the facility's administration permitted the State Police to enter into official records a false and inaccurate misbehavior report. He asserts that "they" (unnamed and unidentified persons) obstructed a police investigation, committed perjury, made false statements and in turn violated his rights to due process, to be free of cruel and unusual punishment and malicious prosecution. He further alleges that the filing of the criminal charges in the town court jeopardized his parole release. Finally, claimant alleges that he was stabbed under his left eye and nothing was done about it by DOCS officials at Marcy.

The defendant seeks dismissal of the claim on three alternative grounds. The defendant seeks dismissal of the claim pursuant to § 206.6(f) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims (22 NYCRR Part 206). Section 206.6 (f) amended effective April 8, 2002 currently provides: "Changes in the post office address or telephone number of any attorney or pro se claimant shall be communicated in writing to the clerk within ten days thereof." Prior to its amendment section 206.6 (f) read as follows: "Changes in the post office address or telephone number of any claimant and any attorney therefor shall be communicated in writing to the clerk within ten days thereof." Neither of these two similar provisions imposes a penalty and certainly does not support the extreme sanction of dismissal of the claim as requested on this motion. Moreover, neither version of the rule requires a claimant to notify the defendant's attorney of his new address and/or telephone number as alleged by defense counsel on the motion and the rule, therefore, cannot serve as a basis for dismissal of the claim. The defendant's motion for dismissal on this basis is denied.

With regard to the issue of conversion of a dismissal motion to one seeking summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3211 (c) it is clear that with very limited exceptions such a conversion may occur only "after adequate notice to the parties." Here defense counsel has alleged that claimant did not provide the defendant with a current address following his release from custody. If that allegation was assumed to be true it follows that the Court would be unable to meet the statute's notice requirement and conversion pursuant to CPLR 3211 (c) could not take place. Defense counsel's allegation of no current address, however, is questionable since counsel filed with the Court an affidavit of service sworn to April 30, 2002 alleging service of the motion upon claimant at 76 N. Genesee Street, Apartment 2, Geneva, New York. That address is the address claimant provided to the Clerk of the Court on March 15, 2002 following his release from DOCS custody and correspondence forwarded to that address by the Clerk as recently as May 1, 2002 has not been returned.

It appears to the Court that this matter may indeed be susceptible to summary judgment and the Court in the exercise of its discretion has decided to convert the motion to one seeking summary judgment. In doing so the Court has chosen to limit the issues to be decided by granting the portion of the State's motion pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2) which seeks to dismiss any and all portions of the instant claim which may be said to allege a violation of rights guaranteed to claimant under the United States Constitution. It is well established that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over claims asserting violations of rights guaranteed under the federal constitution (see, Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172). To that extent, those portions of the claim which may seek to assert causes of action premised upon alleged violations of the United States Constitution are dismissed. To allow consideration of the issues which remain, including any potential malicious prosecution or State constitutional tort claim, the Court grants the defendant's request that the motion be converted to one seeking summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3211 (c) with respect to such issues. That portion of the motion is adjourned for sixty days and claimant is directed to file with the Clerk of the Court within 30 days following service of this decision and order by defense counsel either an affidavit opposing summary judgment or a written statement indicating that he has no opposition to the defendant's motion. A copy of such affidavit or written statement of no opposition shall also be served on the defendant's attorney. Claimant's failure to file and serve the affidavit or written statement within the designated time period will be deemed a default on the motion entitling the defendant to the relief sought. If claimant files an opposing affidavit defense counsel may file and serve reply papers within seven days of counsel's receipt of the claimant's affidavit.

August 5, 2002
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated April 22, 2002;
  2. Affirmation of Joel L. Marmelstein dated April 12, 2002 with exhibits.