New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TAFARI v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-033-205, Claim No. 112322, Motion No. M-71871


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:
Injah Tafari, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney GeneralBy: Frederick H. McGown, III, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
September 28, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a claim by Injah Tafari (hereinafter “claimant”) for monetary damages as the result of claimant being denied physical contact during visitation by defendant. Claimant was an inmate at Eastern Correctional Facility, Napanoch, New York.

According to the claim and the parties’ motion papers, the Court has found the following allegations which have led to claimant’s lawsuit. On December 17, 2005, claimant was visited by his “common-law” wife. During the visit, the wife got onto claimant’s lap. There are allegations that claimant and his wife were engaged or about to be engaged in sexual intercourse. The visit was terminated by defendant’s employees. As claimant was being lead away from the visiting area he became agitated and violent. It is alleged that claimant assaulted a correction officer and threw a chair through a window. On December 27, 2005, visitation sanctions were imposed on claimant. The determination of guilt was affirmed by the Superintendent on January 9, 2006. On January 12, 2006, claimant appealed the findings to the Commissioner. The Commissioner had not issued a decision prior to the claim being filed.

Claimant seeks damages for the time that the sanctions are in place. Claimant asks this Court by way of the claim to find that the sanctions were not warranted and were improperly placed upon him.

Defendant moves this Court to dismiss the claim because it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim[1]. Defendant argues that a proper review of the hearing decisions should be done by a CPLR Article 78 review brought in Supreme Court.

In order to find compensatory damages, this Court must review the evidence presented at the Superintendent’s hearings and determine whether or not an error was made as to the final determination by the Superintendent. The Court of Claims Act does not empower this Court to make such a review of administrative determinations (see Court of Claims Act §10).

Article 78 of the CPLR is the appropriate mechanism to review administrative determinations. A determination that the administrative determination, via an Article 78 review, is the necessary step before claimant may bring a suit for damages. Claimant must proceed in Supreme Court to have the administrative decisions reviewed.

Based upon the foregoing, defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim is granted. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close the file.

September 28, 2006
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1].The following papers have been read and considered on defendant’s motion: Notice of Motion dated June 13, 2006 and filed June 13, 2006; Affirmation in Support of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss of Frederick H. McGown, III, Esq. dated June 13, 2006 and filed June 13, 2006; Notice of Motion of Injah Tafari dated June 20, 2006 and filed July 3, 2006; Affidavit in Support of Motion to Strike Defense From the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss of Injah Tafari sworn to June 20, 2006 and filed July 3, 2006.