New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KALWASINSKI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-032-028, Claim No. 104011, Motion No. M-69588


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2005-032-028
Claimant(s):
MITCHELL KALWASINSKI
Claimant short name:
KALWASINSKI
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104011
Motion number(s):
M-69588
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney:
Mitchell Kalwasinski, 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:
February 28, 2005
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate presently incarcerated at Southport Correctional Facility, moves this

Court for an order pursuant to CPLR 6301 enjoining defendant from destroying his property. In opposing this relief, defendant argues that this Court does not have jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief.


Claimant brings this action for destruction of his property, and alleges that in retaliation for claimant filing grievances and complaints against a certain correction officer, his cell was searched while he was at a family visit and certain property destroyed, including legal case files. After defendant answered the claim, and the parties engaged in discovery, claimant brought the instant motion seeking injunctive relief.

It is well settled that the Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and does not have jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief (see Gebman v Pataki, 256 AD2d 854, 855 [3d Dept 1998], lv denied 93 NY2d 808). Thus, the Court must determine whether the essential nature of the claim is the recovery of equitable relief or whether equitable relief is simply incidental to the primary claim (contrast id). Here, given that claimant's allegations in his claim allege that in January 2001, his property was destroyed, claimant's primary claim is for damages resulting therefrom. On this motion, claimant alleges that from February 2004 through July 2004, defendant targeted claimant's legal files for destruction by dumping his legal papers in his cell and confiscating certain papers as contraband. Claimant states he filed a grievance with respect to the manner in which his cell was searched and such process has been unsuccessfully exhausted.

Initially, the Court notes that these new allegations are three years removed from the allegations giving rise to claimant's present claim. Further, these new allegations seek purely equitable relief inasmuch as, in essence, claimant challenges his unsuccessful grievance regarding the manner in which searches of his cell are conducted. As such, these new allegations are more properly the subject of a proceeding in Supreme Court (see, CPLR 7801 et seq.). Accordingly, the Court denies claimant's motion for injunctive relief.



February 28, 2005
Albany, New York

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


The following papers were considered on claimant's motion:


1. Notice of Motion filed January 3, 2005;

2. Affidavit of Mitchell Kalwasinski sworn to December 29, 2004;

3. Affirmation of Kathleen M. Arnold dated January 31, 2005 with Exhibit A annexed;

4. Supplemental papers of claimant filed January 26, 2005;

Filed papers - Claim, Answer