New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

THOMAS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-111, Claim No. 104288, Motion No. M-68973


Synopsis


Motion for a preliminary injunction is denied as such relief falls outside the jurisdiction of this Court and must be pursued by means of an article 78 proceeding.


Case Information

UID:
2004-032-111
Claimant(s):
BERNARD THOMAS
Claimant short name:
THOMAS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104288
Motion number(s):
M-68973
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney:
Bernard Thomas, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Kathleen M. Arnold, Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 23, 2004
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

By this motion, claimant seeks a preliminary injunction (temporary restraining order) in connection with the action he has commenced against the State. His claim arises from allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a medical staff member at Rikers Island and thereafter, once he was transferred to the custody of the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), he was not properly screened and identified as someone who was "victim prone" for the purpose of housing assignments. In June 2000, when he was sentenced to eight months in a Special Housing Unit (SHU), he was transferred to Upstate Correctional Facility where, according to claimant, he was again improperly screened and assigned to a double-bunk cell, at one point sharing a cell with someone he states was a homosexual.


By this motion, claimant seeks a preliminary injunction directing that he be transferred from SHU, placed in a single cell housing situation, and have his privileges be restored. The motivation for this request appears to be a subsequent transfer, to Green Haven Correctional Facility, where he was once again assigned to a double-bunk cell. When he refused to go to such housing, he was found guilty of a disciplinary infraction and sentenced to SHU.

Defense counsel correctly observes and the Third Department has recently reaffirmed that "[a]s a court of limited jurisdiction, the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief" (Madura v State of New York, __ AD3d __, 2004 WL 2472256 [2004], citing to Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670, 671 [1997]; Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988]; Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413 [1954]). Consequently, this Court is without power to issue an injunction (Milner v New York State Higher Educ. Services Corp., 4 Misc 3d 221, 225 [Ct Cl 2004]). The appropriate method to obtain such relief is to commence a proceeding in Supreme Court pursuant to CPLR article 78 (see e.g., Melillo v County of Nassau, 307 AD2d 356 [2d Dept 2003]).

Claimant's motion is denied.




November 23, 2004
Albany, New York

HON. JUDITH A. HARD
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read on claimant's motion for a preliminary injunction (temporary restraining order):

1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of Bernard Thomas, pro se, with annexed Exhibits;

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Kathleen M. Arnold, Esq., AAG;

3. "Preliminary Injunction Exhibits" of Bernard Thomas, pro se;

4. Reply Affidavit of Bernard Thomas, pro se;

Filed papers: Claim; Answer