New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PAYNE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-031-059, , Motion Nos. M-65015, M-65637


Synopsis


Claimant failed to demonstrate he was illegally confined by the State. His motion for permission to file a late claim is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2002-031-059
Claimant(s):
HENRY PAYNE
Claimant short name:
PAYNE
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):

Motion number(s):
M-65015, M-65637
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
HENRY PAYNE, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: GREGORY P. MILLER, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 6, 2002
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 6, were read on motion by Claimant for permission to file a late claim:
1. Claimant's Notice of Motion (M-65015), filed April 2, 2002, with attached exhibits;
2. Claimant's Notice of Motion (M-65637), filed August 13, 2002;
3. Claimant's affidavit sworn to August 1, 2002, with attached exhibits;
4. Affidavit of Gregory P. Miller , Esq., sworn to June 25, 2002;
5. Claimant's memorandum of law, dated July 31, 2002;
6. Correspondence from Claimant dated September 11, 2002, with attached exhibits.Claimant Henry Payne brings these motions, each for permission to file a late claim pursuant to §10(6) of the Court of Claims Act (the "CCA").[1] In his proposed claim, Mr. Payne alleges that he was improperly imprisoned by the Defendant for 119 days, from June 14, 2001, to October 11, 2001. As damages Claimant seeks to recover the sum of $500,000.00.

Subdivision 6 of §10 of the CCA enumerates six factors to be weighed in connection with a late claim motion: (1) whether the delay was excusable; (2) whether Claimant has any other remedy; (3) whether Defendant had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (4) whether Defendant had an opportunity to investigate; (5) whether Defendant would be substantially prejudiced; and (6) whether the claim appears to be meritorious. This list is not exhaustive and the presence or absence of any one factor is not dispositive. Rather, the Court in its discretion balances these factors in making its determination (Bay Terrace Coop. Section IV v New York State Employees' Retirement Sys. Policemen's and Firemen's Retirement Sys., 55 NY2d 979).

Of these six factors, Defendant disputes only merit, correctly pointing out that it would be pointless to grant permission to file late if the proposed claim did not have at least the appearance of merit (see e.g., Prusack v State of New York, 117 AD2d 729). Generally, a proposed claim meets the appearance of merit standard if it passes a two-fold test. It must not be patently groundless, frivolous, or legally defective, and upon consideration of the entire record, there must be reasonable cause to believe a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1).

Defendant argues that the claim lacks merit and, in fact, that Claimant has failed to set forth a valid cause of action against the State in his proposed claim. I agree.

The basis of Claimant's cause of action is that Defendant improperly and illegally failed to release him when required. Claimant alleges that "it was the duty of the NYSDOCS to release the inmate from custody on June 14, 2001, by order of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Terry Saunders, therefore the Defendant had actual knowledge of the exact date of the Claimants (sic) release." (Proposed claim paragraph 3). However, there appears to be no such order. Certainly, Claimant has failed to attach or identify any such order in his papers. Claimant submitted a Parole Revocation Decision Notice dated March 21, 2001, indicating that he was found guilty of violating the conditions of his parole at a hearing held on March 14, 2001. In that notice, Administrative Law Judge Terry Saunders recommended that Claimant be assessed 4 months of delinquent time as a result of his violations. The notice also indicates that Claimant's estimated delinquent assessment expiration date was June 14, 2001. The notice itself goes on to state "This date is not to be interpreted as an established release date."

Claimant has submitted no further evidence indicating that he was improperly imprisoned by Defendant. The Parole Revocation Decision Notice is merely a recommendation to the Parole Board, and on its face, indicates that June 14, 2001 was not Claimant's established release date. It is well established that the decisions of the Parole Board in determining when and under what conditions to release a prisoner are "classically judicial" in nature and deserving of full immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212 at 217, citing Tarter v State of New York, 68 NY2d 511). The decisions of the Parole Board enjoy this immunity even where the Parole Board's decision was subsequently "determined to have been in error" (Semkus v State of New York, 272 AD2d 74).

For the reasons set forth above, I find that Claimant has failed to demonstrate that his proposed claim has merit. Claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim is denied.

November 6, 2002
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims



[1]Though designated as two distinct motions, the papers filed by Claimant clearly relate to the same underlying facts and were intended, on his part, to constitute one motion; the second offered to satisfy perceived shortcomings in his original motion. For this reason, this decision addresses both motions.