New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BONACCI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-031-009, , Motion No. M-67039


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:
Defendant's attorney:
New York State Attorney General
BY: JAMES L. GELORMINI, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 21, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Claimant for permission to file a late claim:
1. Claimant's Notice of Motion, filed July 1, 2003;
2. Claimant's Affidavit, sworn to June 25, 2003, with attached exhibits;
3. July 18, 2003 correspondence of James L. Gelormini, Esq.;
4. August 17, 2003 correspondence of Claimant. This is the motion of Anthony Bonacci for permission to file a late claim pursuant to § 10(6) of the Court of Claims Act (the "CCA"). According to the motion papers, Claimant was found guilty of disciplinary charges that he alleges were bogus. Mr. Bonacci also apparently believes that something improper occurred at the hearing itself, stating that Defendant failed to "take all Claimante (sic) evidence and testimony of witnesses, film, audio, statements in regards of the claimates fact's (sic)". By this, I cannot tell if Claimant alleges that the hearing officer did not give proper weight to Claimant's evidence, or refused to admit Claimant's evidence. Claimant also does not indicate the nature of this evidence, nor why it should have been admitted or given greater weight. Claimant also fails to identify the date or dates of the disciplinary hearings of which he complains.

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.

Claimant asserts his delay in filing a claim was due to the fact that he was an inmate confined to the Special Housing Unit, and that he thought he had to wait for a resolution of his Article 78 proceeding before he could file a claim. This, of course, is not a legally recognizable excuse for Claimant's delay (Wallace v State of New York, Ct Cl, June 27, 2000 [Motion No. M-61368], Read, P. J., UID # 2000-001-030). This factor, therefore, weighs in Defendant's favor.

Claimant did not address whether he has another remedy. From the papers before me, it appears that Claimant has a partial remedy, as noted below, in Supreme Court in an Article 78 proceeding. However, his remedy for money damages based upon false imprisonment, lies in an action against the State in the Court of Claims. This factor, therefore, weighs in Claimant's favor.

The next three factors covering notice, opportunity to investigate, and prejudice are closely related and may be considered together (Brewer v State of New York, 176 Misc 2d 337, 342). Claimant alleges that Defendant had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim but does not indicate how, other than perhaps to allege that he was found guilty of the bogus disciplinary charges. Claimant does not address the factors of opportunity to investigate or substantial prejudice. I find that each of these three factors weigh in Defendant's favor.

Of the six enumerated factors in CCA § 10(6), it is the appearance of merit that is most significant, as 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). On this point, I find that Mr. Bonacci's submission is again deficient. The actions of prison personnel involving inmate disciplinary matters are generally quasi-judicial and, unless they exceed the scope of their authority or violate applicable rules, are afforded absolute immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212; Davis v State of New York, 262 AD2d 887, lv denied 93 NY2d 819). I find that Claimant has failed to demonstrate, or even to adequately allege, that Defendant violated any of its own rules and regulations in conducting the hearing, or otherwise acted outside the sphere of privileged actions. Moreover, to the extent that Claimant's argument that the basis for the Inmate Misbehavior Report and the resulting hearing was in and of itself defective has merit, his remedy was with the Supreme Court in an Article 78 proceeding. (Moreno v State of New York, Ct Cl, April 5, 2001 [Claim No. 100335], Bell, J., UID # 2001-007-551).

Finally, Defendant, by letter dated July 18, 2003, has indicated that Mr. Bonacci failed to serve a copy of his motion papers upon the office of the Attorney General.

Accordingly, based upon the foregoing it is hereby

ORDERED, that Claimant's motion for permission to file a late claim in this matter is denied.

January 21, 2004
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims