New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ADONIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-016-017, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-72978


Synopsis


Late claim motion was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2007-016-017
Claimant(s):
TAHANI ADONIS
1 1.The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant is the State of New York.
Claimant short name:
ADONIS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended to reflect that the sole proper defendant is the State of New York.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-72978
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
Robin C. Smith, Esq.
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Ellen Matowik Russell, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 8, 2007
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant Tahani Adonis moves for permission to file a late claim pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (the “Act”). Ms. Adonis alleges that on October 14, 2005, she was wrongfully arrested by New York State Court Officers at the New York City Civil Court in Kings County. The proposed claim makes reference to the following causes of action: violations of 42 U.S.C. §1983, false imprisonment[2], malicious prosecution, violations of the New York State Constitution and negligent supervision and training. In determining a late claim motion, the court must consider six factors enumerated in §10.6 of the Act, i.e., whether (1) defendant had notice of the essential facts constituting the claim; (2) defendant had an opportunity to investigate the circumstances underlying the claim; (3) defendant was substantially prejudiced; (4) claimant has any other available remedy; (5) the delay was excusable; and (6) the claim appears to be meritorious.

In this case, however, preliminary jurisdictional issues must first be addressed with regard to several of Ms. Adonis’ causes of action.


42 U.S.C. §1983

The Court lacks jurisdiction over this cause of action as it is well settled that a 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim may not be pursued against the State of New York in the Court of Claims. See Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172, 652 NYS2d 223 (1996).


False Imprisonment

As to false imprisonment, such cause of action has a one-year statute of limitations pursuant to CPLR §215.3. Section 10.6 of the Act provides that a late claim motion may not be granted if it is made after the relevant statute of limitations has expired. In this case, claimant’s cause of action for false imprisonment expired on October, 14, 2006, i.e., one year after her arrest and confinement, a date prior to the making of this motion.


Malicious Prosecution

Malicious prosecution also has a one-year statute of limitations pursuant to CPLR §215.3 Such a cause of action accrues on the date of favorable termination of the underlying criminal proceeding. In this case, it is alleged that the “criminal case [against claimant] . . . was dismissed on November 28, 2005.”[3] See ¶14 of the proposed claim. Accordingly, the statute of limitations expired on November 28, 2006, prior to the making of this motion.
* * *
With regard to the remaining causes of action, i.e., violations of the New York State Constitution and negligent supervision and training, the aforementioned six factors under §10.6 of the Act must be considered.

As to notice, there is no indication that defendant had any notice of this claim, although as to opportunity and prejudice, there is presumably documentation of claimant’s arrest, and claimant has provided names and shield numbers such that an investigation could be undertaken.

With regard to an alternate remedy, a suit might lie against the individual officers. As to excuse, claimant has offered no explanation for her failure to timely serve and file a claim.

The remaining factor to be considered is whether the proposed causes of action appear meritorious. As to a State constitutional cause of action under Brown, infra, in Martinez v City of Schenectady, 97 NY2d 78, 735 NYS2d 868 (2001), the Court of Appeals described such cause of action as a narrow remedy addressing two interests: “the private interest that citizens harmed by constitutional violations have an avenue of redress, and the public interest that future violations be deterred.” The facts of this case do not fall within the protection of Brown. Moreover, where claimant would have had redress via a timely interposed common law claim such as false imprisonment or malicious prosecution, a State constitutional claim is unavailable. See, e.g., Lyles v State of New York, 2 AD3d 694, 770 NYS2d 81 (2d Dept 2003), affd 3 NY3d 396, 787 NYS2d 216 (2004).

Finally, as to negligent supervision and training, claimant has alleged facts which could support such a cause of action. See, e.g., Pickering v State of New York, 30 AD3d 393, 816 NYS2d 566 (2d Dept 2006). I find that she meets the standard of Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Authority, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11, 399 NYS2d 395, 402-03 (Ct Cl 1977): (i) the claim “must not be patently groundless, frivolous, or legally defective” and (ii) upon consideration of the entire record, including the proposed claim and any exhibits or affidavits, “there is reasonable cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists.”

* * *
Accordingly, having reviewed the submissions[4], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-72978 be granted with respect to the cause of action for negligent supervision and training and otherwise be denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that within forty-five (45) days of the filing of this Decision and Order, claimant shall serve and file her claim[5] -- within which the only cause of action shall be one for negligent supervision and training, in compliance with Court of Claims Act §11 and §11-a.

June 8, 2007
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




  1. [2]Claimant also makes reference to “false arrest” and “unlawful imprisonment.” Such causes of action are essentially the same as false imprisonment. See, e.g., Blanchfield v State of New York, 104 Misc 2d 21, 427 NYS2d 682 (Ct Cl 1980).
  2. [3]Claimant’s moving papers indicate that prior to her arrest, she was issued an additional summons and told to leave the courthouse. The papers seem to indicate that the proceeding relating to this summons was dismissed on August 4, 2006, but such summons is not a subject of the proposed claim.
  3. [4]The following were reviewed: claimant’s notice of motion with affidavit in support and undesignated exhibits; defendant’s affirmation in opposition; claimant’s “Affidavit in Response” with attached affidavit and proposed claim; and defendant’s “Sur-Reply Affirmation.”
  4. [5]Such shall be denominated “Claim” as opposed to “Complaint,” and shall refer to Ms. Adonis as “claimant” rather than “plaintiff.”