New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

EVANS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-033-189, Claim No. 111424, Motion Nos. M-71136, CM-71290


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):
James J. Lack
Claimant’s attorney:
William Anthony Evans, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney GeneralBy: Belinda A. Wagner, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 14, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This claim arises from an alleged breach of contract by defendant, the State of New York while William Anthony Evans (hereinafter "claimant") was incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Facility, Napanoch, New York. The breach of contract occurred on July 19, 2005, when claimant was reassigned from his job as a food service worker to work in the library.

Claimant became a food service worker in 1998, which is a higher paying job at a correctional facility. At the time claimant became a food service worker, he signed a paper which committed him to give at least 12 months of service in the kitchen. In addition, there were rules listed which claimant had to abide by to maintain his job. The parties agree that when an inmate, who is a food service worker, is transferred he must maintain that job provided his agreement has not expired. Since entering the food service training program in 1998, claimant has continually held that job until July 2005.

When claimant was transferred to Eastern Correctional Facility in April 2002, he maintained his position and pay rate as a food service worker. During his time in Eastern Correctional Facility, claimant was repeatedly counseled to participate in a drug program. Claimant refused. Claimant was reassigned to a lower paying job due to his failure to participate in the drug program. Claimant is seeking the difference in pay from the date of the breach until his first possible parole date in 2015. Claimant moves[1] and defendant cross-moves[2] for summary judgment.

Summary judgment is a drastic remedy which deprives a party of its day in court and should not be granted where there is any doubt as to the existence of a material issue of fact (Moskowitz v Garlock, 23 AD2d 943; Epstein v Scally, 99 AD2d 713). The Court's function is to determine if an issue exists. In doing so, the Court must examine the proof in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Summary judgment may only be granted if movant provides evidentiary proof in admissible form to demonstrate that there are no questions of fact (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851; Wanger v Zeh, 45 Misc 2d 93, aff'd 26 AD2d 729). Once the movant has demonstrated a prima facie entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law, the burden shifts to the opposing party to submit evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to create an issue of fact or demonstrate an acceptable excuse for his failure to submit such proof (Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320). Mere conclusions, speculation or expressions of hope are insufficient to defeat the motion (Amatulli v Delhi Constr. Corp., 77 NY2d 525).

After examining the papers of the parties, it is clear that sufficient material facts are in dispute so as to deny summary judgment to both parties.

Claimant insists that a contract exists, while defendant states that the papers originally signed by claimant were not a contract. Yet, defendant’s documents repeatedly make reference to a contract with the food service worker. It is also unclear if a valid agreement was in place. The Court agrees with defendant that the original paper was not to be considered as in perpetuity. Defendant argues that claimant’s failure to participate in the drug program was in violation of the facility’s rules and thus, grounds for termination as a food service worker. However, there is no explanation of the reference in the documents to the program being “voluntary”.

Accordingly, the Court denies claimant’s motion and defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment.

June 14, 2006
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1].The following papers have been read and considered on claimant’s motion: Notice of Motion for Summary Judgment dated December 6, 2005 and filed January 9, 2006; Statement of Material Fact of William Anthony Evans sworn to December 6, 2005 and filed January 9, 2006; Affidavit in Support of Motion for CPLR § 3212 Summary Judgment of William Anthony Evans dated December 6, 2005 and filed January 9, 2006; Memorandum of Law of William Anthony Evans received January 9, 2006; Appendix of Exhibits of William Anthony Evans received January 9, 2006.
[2].The following papers have been read and considered on defendant’s cross-motion: Notice of Cross-Motion dated February 13, 2006 and filed February 14, 2006; Affirmation in Opposition to Claimant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and in Support of Defendant’s Cross Motion for Summary Judgment of Belinda A. Wagner, Esq. with annexed Exhibits A-F dated February 13, 2006 and filed February 14, 2006; “Affirmation” in Opposition to Defendant’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply of William Anthony Evans with annexed Exhibit A verified on February 20, 2006.