New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-037-506, Claim No. 103182


The Court of Claims has no jurisdiction over pro se Claimant’s retaliation

causes of action. Claim dismissed.

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:
Johnathan Johnson, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
New York State Attorney General
By: Joseph F. Romani, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
September 19, 2005

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

Johnathan Johnson, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim Number 103182 that while he was in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) at Southport Correctional Facility (Southport), a correction officer fabricated a misbehavior report against him in retaliation for grievances filed against that officer by Claimant. The Claim is presented in terms of violations of the New York State Constitution, as well as harassment. Trial of the matter was held at Elmira Correctional Facility on July 28, 2005.
Claimant alleges in his Claim (Exhibit 1) and testified that on September 21, 2000, Correction Officers (CO) J. Casselberry and M. Chorney filed a fabricated misbehavior report
against him in retaliation for a grievance filed by Claimant on July 26, 2000 (Exhibit B), regarding
the application of waist chains on him by prison staff. He also alleges that CO Casselberry harassed him by denying to him certain privileges.
Following a disciplinary hearing, Claimant was found guilty of harassment and refusing a
direct order as alleged in the misbehavior report and was sentenced to thirty days in keeplock status
(Exhibit A).
In addition to this Claim, Claimant also filed a grievance through the Inmate Grievance Program at Southport which contained the same allegations. The grievance was dismissed and closed (Exhibit C).
No other evidence was submitted and no other witnesses testified.
This Court has previously advised Claimant that retaliation, constitutional tort violations, and violations of prison directives are not viable causes of action in the Court of Claims (see Johnson v State of New York, Ct Cl, September 24, 2003, Lebous, J., Claim No. 107926, Motion Nos. M-67182 & M-67242 [UID No. 2003-019-560])
. The proper venue for so-called retaliation claims is the inmate grievance procedure followed by Article 78 proceedings, not the Court of Claims (Zulu v State of New York, Ct Cl, May 21, 2001, Patti, J., Claim Nos. 96973 & 96974, Motion Nos. M-63183 & M-63184 [UID No. 2001-013-006]).
With respect to the allegations of violations of the State Constitution, the Court finds that this claim fails to state a cause of action on that basis. Although the Court of Appeals has recognized a cause of action for constitutional torts ( Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172 [1996]), it is well-settled that a constitutional tort remedy will not be implied when adequate alternative remedies exist (Augat v State of New York, 244 AD2d 835, 837 [1997], lv denied 91 NY2d 814 [1998]; Remley v State of New York, 174 Misc 2d 523 [1997]). Here, Claimant pursued an inmate grievance and if he was dissatisfied with the results he could have commenced an Article 78 proceeding (Matter of Hakeem v Wong, 223 AD2d 765 [1996], lv denied 88 NY2d 802 [1996]; 7 NYCRR 701.1 et seq.; see also Moates v State of New York, Ct Cl, Sept. 25, 2000, Fitzpatrick, J., Claim No. 99875, Motion Nos. M-61714 & M-61565 [UID No. 2000-018-044]). The fact that Claimant may have been unsuccessful in pursuing these alternate remedies does not then create jurisdiction in this Court. Consequently, this court does not have jurisdiction over Claimant’s causes of action.
Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to dismiss upon which decision was reserved at the time of trial is hereby granted, and Claim Number 103182 is dismissed in its entirety.

September 19, 2005
Buffalo, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]. This and other unreported Court of Claims decisions may be found at the Court of Claims web site at