New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-031-124, Claim No. 108226, Motion No. M-68628


Claimant failed to demonstrate an error of fact or law, new facts, or a change in the law that affects the Court's prior determination. Claimant's motion for leave to renew or reargue pursuant to CPLR 2221 denied.

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: HEATHER R. RUBINSTEIN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 12, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Claimant requesting a "rehearing" of a previous motion:
1. Notice of Motion, filed June 9, 2004;
2. Claimant's Affidavit, sworn to June 2, 2004, with attached exhibits;

3. Correspondence of Heather R. Rubinstein, Esq., dated August 19, 2004;
4. Filed papers: Claim.

Claimant's motion is for "rehearing" of a previous motion (M-67517) in which I granted Defendant's motion for dismissal of the claim. Claimant's motion is improperly denominated, as the CPLR provides litigants with an opportunity to seek either reargument or renewal pursuant to CPLR 2221.

A motion to reargue "shall be based upon matters of fact or law allegedly overlooked or misapprehended by the court in determining the prior motion, but shall not include any matters of fact not offered on the prior motion" (CPLR 2221(d)(2)). The apparent thrust of Claimant's present motion is that he seeks to have me review documents that were not presented in his opposition to the original motion. These are documents which shed light on Claimant's intended cause of action by indicating that Defendant mishandled certain grievances Claimant filed relating to Defendant's failure to feed him on April 1, 2003. If I consider that Claimant offers these documents as the law or fact that were overlooked or misapprehended on the prior motion, then a motion to reargue is not appropriate, as these documents were not presented to the Court as part of that motion, nor did Claimant make any reference to them.

A motion to renew is based on new facts, not offered on the prior motion, that would change the prior determination; the motion "shall contain reasonable justification for the failure to present such facts on the prior motion" (CPLR 2221(e)(2) and (3)). Claimant has provided no justification for his failure to present these documents on the prior motion.

After reviewing Claimant's submissions, I find that Claimant's denial of food on April 1, 2003, which related to his being transported to a court appearance, was of minimal duration and that any inconvenience to Claimant during the period in question was de minimis. I also note that, generally, living conditions and the quality of life within prison facilities are issues for which this court has no jurisdiction. (see e.g., Ford v State of New York, Ct Cl, August 7, 2001 [Claim No. 96731], Corbett, J., UID #2000-005-540). To the extent that Claimant seeks to allege a violation of his Federal Constitutional rights, this Court lacks jurisdiction over such matters (Zagarella v State of New York, 149 AD2d 503; Ferrick v State of New York, 198 AD2d 822).

In any event, these new documents, in which Claimant asserts that his Federal Constitutional rights were violated, are unavailing to Claimant. In the previous motion, I determined that the claim itself was defective. As the Court of Appeals in Guggenheimer v Ginzburg (43 NY2d 268, 275) observed, "the sole criterion is whether the pleading states a cause of action, and if from its four corners factual allegations are discerned which taken together manifest any cause of action cognizable at law a motion for dismissal will fail (see Foley v D'Agostino, 21 AD2d 60, 64-65; Siegel, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR 3211:24, p 31; 4 Weinstein-Korn-Miller, NY Civ Prac, par 3211.36)." Nothing submitted by Claimant alters the fact that the claim itself fails to set forth a valid cause of action against Defendant.

Therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Claimant's motion is denied.

October 12, 2004
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims