Claimant, Jamel Allah, a/k/a Jamel Hathway, a
inmate, brings this Claim alleging that his religious rights were
violated during December of 1996 and January 1997, while in the custody of the
New York State Department of Correctional Services at the Southport Correctional
Facility (hereinafter "Facility"). The trial of this Claim took place on June
25, 2002 at Elmira Correctional Facility.
At trial Claimant testified that due to a number of clerical errors he was not
entitled to fast in December of 1996 and into January of 1997, because he had
been inappropriately removed from the Ramadan list by the Facility's Islamic
clerk. Consequently, Claimant alleges his religious rights were violated and
that he was not allowed to appropriately participate in this religious holiday
by fasting or receiving appropriate diet.
After the Claimant offered his testimony in this regard, the State moved to
dismiss based upon, among other things, Claimant's failure to pursue his
administrative remedies and a prior related Decision and Judgment of Supreme
Allah v Goord
, Sup Ct, Chemung County, Dec. 15, 1997, Ellison, J., Index
No. 97-1800). Initially, the Court notes that there is no prerequisite that a
Claimant must exhaust his administrative remedies prior to commencing suit in
the Court of Claims in any action other than an inmate bailment claim. (CCA 10
; Fullwood v State of New York, et al.
, Ct Cl, November 14, 2001,
Corbett, Jr., J., Claim No. 103204, Motion No. M-63915 [UID No.
With respect to the State's
second argument, this Court has reviewed the Supreme Court Decision and Judgment
and finds that the same relates specifically to this Claim and that the merits
of that action were reached in the prior Supreme Court matter. More
specifically, the Supreme Court matter addressed Claimant's complaints of being
denied participation in the observance of the December fast and the Ramadan fast
in January 1997 which are the same complaints for the same time period at issue
here. Based upon a review of that prior Decision and Judgment, this Court now
grants the State's motion to dismiss, upon which it reserved at the end of
trial, for the reasons stated by Justice Ellison therein.
Based upon the foregoing, Claim No. 95839 is hereby DISMISSED.
Any and all motions on which the Court may have previously reserved or which
were not previously determined, are hereby denied.
ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.