Defendant moves this Court pursuant to CPLR 3212 for summary judgment
dismissing the claim for failure to state a claim, res judicata and lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
Claimant commenced this action in September 2000, seeking interest on
unemployment insurance benefits for the period June 23, 1980 through August 11,
1999. The claim alleges that in December 1981, the Unemployment Insurance Appeal
Board [hereinafter Board] denied claimant benefits and that the Board reversed
this denial 18 years later, on August 11,
In reversing its prior decision, the
Board awarded claimant $3,250.00 in benefits. The award did not include an award
for interest, and claimant did not appeal the Board's decision. Claimant now
seeks interest from the date his benefits were effective until the date the
Board awarded benefits.
In support of its motion, defendant argues that the claim fails to state cause
of action because there is no provision for interest on awards of unemployment
insurance benefits. Further, defendant argues that judicial review of decisions
by the Board resides exclusively with the Appellate Division, Third Department
and, therefore, this Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the claim.
Moreover, claimant did not avail himself of the review process and, therefore,
the Board's decision is res judicata. In opposition, claimant does not recite
any statutory provision providing for interest on unemployment benefit awards.
Rather, claimant contends that he received a judgment against the State and,
therefore, he is entitled to statutory interest on this judgment pursuant to
State Finance Law § 16. Alternatively, he contends that even if the award
is not considered a judgment, it is an "accrued claim" within the purview of
State Finance Law
On a motion for summary judgment, the movant must establish that, viewing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the opponent, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law (see, Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68
NY2d 320; Crosland v New York City Transit Auth., 68 NY2d 165). The
burden then shifts to the opponent to establish a genuine issue of fact
(see Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557).
Initially, Labor Law article 18 and regulations promulgated thereunder provide
the mechanism for payment of unemployment insurance benefits. This mechanism
provides for a review process in the event that an applicant is aggrieved by a
decision, culminating with direct review by the Appellate Division, Third
Department (see Labor Law § 624). Given that this process is the
exclusive remedy available to claimant (Matter of MacGilfrey v Pugh, 217
AD2d 888, 889 [3d Dept 1995], lv denied 88 NY2d 813 ), this Court
does not have jurisdiction to review the Board's failure to award interest. Even
if the Court could review the Board's decision, the claim would fail.
Labor Law article 18 and its supporting regulations do not provide for the
payment of interest on an award of unemployment insurance benefits. Next,
although State Finance Law § 16 provides for the payment by the State of a
statutorily prescribed rate of interest on judgments and accrued claims,
claimant's award is neither a judgment nor an accrued claim within the meaning
of the statute. A judgment is the determination of the rights of the parties in
an action or special proceeding and is signed and filed by the clerk of the
court (see CPLR 5011, 5016). Here, claimant's award is the result of a
determination by an administrative agency and, thus, does not constitute a
judgment of a court after an action or special proceeding. Likewise, claimant is
not entitled to interest under the theory that his award is an accrued claim. In
certain actions, an aggrieved party is entitled not only to post-judgment
interest, but also pre-judgment interest. When a party is entitled to interest
on an accrued claim, the party is entitled to interest from certain specified
events until the date of judgment (see e.g. Metropolitan
Transp. Authority v American Pen Corp., 94 NY2d 154 ; McGale v
Metropolitan Transp. Authority, 76 AD2d 38 [1st Dept 1980], appeal
denied, 52 NY2d 862 , appeal denied 52 NY2d 703 );
Acme Bldrs. v County of Nassau, 36 AD2d 317 [2d Dept 1971], affd
31 NY2d 924 ). For example, in a contract action, a party's claim accrues
typically at the time of the breach and, therefore, pre-judgment interest is
awarded on the accrued claim from the date of breach until the date of judgment
(see Acme Bldrs. v County of Nassau, supra). As previously
stated, claimant's administrative award is not the equivalent of a judgment
entered in a court. Since there is no judgment to calculate post-judgment
interest or pre-judgment interest on the accrued claim, there can be no award of
interest under the authority of State Finance Law § 16.
Based on the foregoing, defendant has established that it is entitled to
summary judgment as a matter of law and claimant has failed to demonstrate a
genuine issue of fact. As such, the claim must be dismissed. Accordingly,
defendant's motion M-70040 is granted.
Let judgment be entered accordingly.
1. Notice of Motion filed April 22, 2005;
2. Affidavit of C. Michael Reger sworn to April 22, 2005; Exhibits A-B
3. Affidavit of Richard A. Marino sworn to April 14, 2005; Exhibits C-J
4. Affidavit of George W. Harder filed July 25, 2005;
5. Affidavit of C. Michael Reger filed August 2, 2005.