New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SEYMORE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-009-006, Claim No. 112942, Motion No. M-72615


Synopsis


Defendant’s motion for an order dismissing the claim for failure to state the cause of action was granted.

Case Information

UID:
2007-009-006
Claimant(s):
MAURICE SEYMORE
Claimant short name:
SEYMORE
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112942
Motion number(s):
M-72615
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant’s attorney:
MAURICE SEYMORE, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General
BY: Joel L. Marmelstein, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney GeneralOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 13, 2007
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Defendant has brought this pre-answer motion seeking an order dismissing the claim for failure to state a cause of action.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with this motion:
Pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibits 1,2


Claimant’s Response (“Answering the Motion of the Defendants”) 3

Correspondence from claimant dated December 12, 2006, with Attachments 4


Filed Papers: Claim.


In his filed claim, claimant alleges that Anne Joslyn, a Senior Corrections Counselor at Mid-State Correctional Facility, improperly filed a misbehavior report against him on January 26, 2006, while claimant was incarcerated at that facility. Claimant further alleges that prior to this date, he had submitted complaints alleging that Correction Counselor Ronald Lanaux had made improper sexual advances against him, and that the misbehavior report filed by Ms. Joslyn was in direct retaliation for these complaints. Based upon these allegations, claimant has filed an 18 page claim, consisting of 67 separately delineated paragraphs and seven separately stated causes of action.

Regardless of how the different causes of action are framed by claimant, each and every cause of action is based upon the misbehavior report filed against claimant by Ms. Joslyn. However, the actions of Correctional Department employees in preparing and filing misbehavior reports are considered quasi-judicial in nature and are entitled to absolute immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212). As a result, this claim seeking damages based upon the actions of Ms. Joslyn in preparing and filing the misbehavior report against claimant is precluded, since she was exercising a quasi-judicial function entitling her to absolute immunity from liability. This immunity applies even where it has been asserted, as is the case here, that her decision was the result of an improper motive such as retaliation (Tarter v State of New York, 68 NY2d 511; Mosher-Simons v County of Allegany, 99 NY2d 214; Topal v State of New York, 263 AD2d 414).

Furthermore, since departmental regulations prohibit the institution of prison disciplinary proceedings for the purpose of retaliation or revenge (7 NYCRR 250.2[f]), the proper forum for litigating such allegations is an Article 78 proceeding instituted in Supreme Court (Matter of Godwin v Goord, 270 AD2d 881; Matter of Walker v Goord, 266 AD2d 778).

Additionally, even though claimant has asserted alleged violations of various constitutional rights in his seven causes of action, it is well settled that this Court has no jurisdiction over claims which are premised upon alleged violations of the Federal Constitution (Davis v State of New York, 124 AD2d 420; Zagarella v State of New York, 149 AD2d 503).

On the other hand, it has been established that this Court may entertain a claim based upon alleged violations of the State Constitution (Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172), although only in certain limited situations. Even though claimant did not specifically allege any violations of State constitutional rights, even if this Court interprets his allegations as asserting violations of his State constitutional rights, such a claim is not recognized in situations where claimant has adequate alternative remedies available to him. This premise applies even if such remedy is an administrative one such as an Article 78 proceeding (Bullard v State of New York, 307 AD2d 676). As discussed previously herein, even though claimant has couched his claim in terms of alleged violations of his constitutional rights, the proper forum for the relief sought by claimant, based upon the factual allegations set forth in this claim, is an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court (Matter of Godwin v Goord, supra; Matter of Walker v Goord, supra).

For all of the above reasons, therefore, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-72615 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Claim No. 112942 is hereby DISMISSED.


March 13, 2007
Syracuse, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims