New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ROSSI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-030-518, Claim No. 106687, Motion Nos. M-66038, CM-66183


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2003-030-518
Claimant(s):
RANDOLPH ROSSI
Claimant short name:
ROSSI
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106687
Motion number(s):
M-66038
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-66183
Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant's attorney:
RANDOLPH ROSSI, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERALBY: DEWEY LEE, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 14, 2003
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers numbered 1 to 7 were read on Claimant's motion to dismiss the defenses contained in the Verified Answer brought pursuant to §3211(b) Civil Practice Law and Rules, and Defendant's cross-motion to dismiss Claim Number 106687:
1,2 Notice of Motion, Affidavit in Support by Randolph Rossi, Claimant

3,4 Notice of Cross-motion, Affirmation of Dewey Lee, Assistant Attorney General

  1. Affidavit in Response to Defendant's Cross-motion to dismiss by Randolph Rossi, Claimant
6,7 Filed papers: Claim, Answer

After carefully considering the papers submitted and the applicable law the motions are disposed of as follows:

In his Claim, Claimant alleges that he was wrongfully confined in a special housing unit (SHU) while he was an inmate at Green Haven Correctional Facility (hereafter Green Haven) commencing on or about December 24, 1999. It is unclear from the claim when he was released, but it appears Claimant pursued administrative remedies, ultimately resulting in the reversal and expungement of the finding of guilt on May 11, 2001. Prior to that administrative determination, Claimant had commenced a special proceeding, pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, challenging the superintendent's initial modification of the penalty imposed to nine (9) months SHU confinement - with six (6) months suspended - and loss of good time. Claimant asserts he lost all privileges for a period of 109 days. He maintains that had he not filed the Article 78 proceeding, the superintendent would not have reversed and expunged his decision.

In its Answer, the Defendant indicates it lacks information sufficient to form a belief with respect to the allegations contained in paragraphs 3 through 6 of the Claim, and denies the allegations contained in paragraph 7 through 16, in conformance with the general pleading requirements of §3018(a) Civil Practice Law and Rules. By way of defenses, Defendant asserts Claimant's own culpable conduct, including contributory negligence and assumption of risk as required, and claim preclusion and issue preclusion.

The purpose of including any affirmative defense in an answer is to provide adequate notice to Claimant of issues of law or fact which the Defendant will raise at trial or in subsequent motion practice. In deciding a motion to dismiss a defense, all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the defense. See, Siegel, New York Practice, 3d Ed., § 269, p. 428. Since no discovery has been undertaken on this claim to date, a determination of the merits of these pleaded defenses, which are fact-dependent, is premature. Accordingly, Claimant's motion number M-66038 is in all respects denied.

Claimant has alleged that Defendant's agents violated mandated rules and policies in the disciplinary proceedings brought against him. The quasi-judicial acts of correction employees taken in furtherance of authorized disciplinary measures are entitled to absolute immunity. Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 219-220 (1988). If officers act inconsistently with their own rules and regulations, however, or otherwise act outside the sphere of privileged actions, liability may attach. The fact that charges are ultimately dismissed does not give rise to a cognizable cause of action when there is no evidence defendant acted inconsistently with its own rules and regulations. Arteaga v State of New York, supra; Holloway v State of New York, 285 AD2d 765 (3d Dept 2001); c.f.: Gittens v State of New York, 132 Misc 2d 399 (Ct Cl 1986).

Defendant's cross-motion to dismiss also appears premature, given the Claimant's allegations of procedural defects in the hearing process. Accordingly, cross-motion CM-66183 is also denied.

March 14, 2003
White Plains, New York

HON. THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Judge of the Court of Claims