New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GUARNERI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-019-541, Claim No. 105608, Motion No. M-65210


Synopsis


State's motion for dismissal is granted since Court of Claims does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim involving county correctional facility.

Case Information

UID:
2002-019-541
Claimant(s):
JOE V. GUARNERI The Court has sua sponte amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
GUARNERI
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has sua sponte amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105608
Motion number(s):
M-65210
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
JOE GUARNERI, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: James E. Shoemaker, Assistant Attorney General,of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 17, 2002
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The defendant State of New York (hereinafter "State") moves for an order dismissing this Claim pursuant to Court of Claims Act (hereinafter "CCA") 10 and 11 and CPLR 3211. Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, opposes the motion.


The Court has considered the following papers regarding this motion:
  1. Claim, filed February 14, 2002.
  2. Notice of Motion No. M-65210, dated May 3, 2002, and filed May 6, 2002.
  3. Affidavit of James E. Shoemaker, AAG, in support of motion, sworn to May 3, 2002, with attached exhibits.
  4. Affidavit of Janet Barringer, in support of motion, sworn to April 11, 2002.
  5. Affidavit of Joe Guarneri, in opposition to motion, undated and unfiled.
Briefly, the underlying Claim alleges various acts of negligence that occurred during his incarceration at the Schoharie County Correctional Facility (hereinafter sometimes "Facility"). More specifically, Claimant alleges that he slipped and fell on a puddle of water in Block J of said Facility on July 1, 2001, and then received inadequate medical/psychiatric attention thereafter, as well as being provided an inadequate grievance procedure in which to pursue said complaints.


By way of this motion, the State contends this Claim fails to allege any wrongdoing on the part of the State since all allegations of negligence are directed toward the Schoharie County Correctional Center and/or its employees and not the State. It is well-settled that prisoners in county jails are under the care and control of the sheriff of the county in which the jail is located. (Correction Law 500-c). Here, the Schoharie County Correctional Center would be the responsibility of the Schoharie County Sheriff. Moreover, the sheriff is not a State employee, but a county employee. (Bardi v Warren County Sheriff's Dept., 194 AD2d 21, 23). As such, the negligence, if any, that forms the basis for this claim is attributable to Schoharie County and/or its officers and employees. It is a fundamental principle that the Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and without authority to hear claims against a county or any individual county employee. (CCA 9). Inasmuch as this Claim contains allegations solely against Schoharie County, and not the State, this Court is without jurisdiction to hear this Claim. Accordingly, the Court of Claims does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim and the Court need not address the State's remaining arguments. Claimant's attempt to rely upon CCA 10 (6) is unavailing due to the lack of subject matter jurisdiction in the first instance.


Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, it is ordered that the State's motion to dismiss, Motion No. M-65210, is GRANTED and Claim No. 105608 is DISMISSED.


June 17, 2002
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims