New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RIVERA v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-039-024, Claim No. 112907, Motion No. M-72570


Synopsis


Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim is granted. The Court concludes that, to the extent claimant seeks to challenge the New York State Parole Board’s determinations denying his parole applications, it is without jurisdiction of such claims. The Court further concludes that it is unable to determine, following a review of the allegations of the claim, whether claimant alleged wrongdoing unrelated to the Board’s denials of his parole applications as claimant fails to set forth his allegations with sufficient particularity pursuant to Court of Claims Act § 11 (b). Accordingly, to the extent that claimant seeks redress for any wrongdoing by defendant that is unrelated to the Board’s denial of his parole applications, the Court finds that the claim is jurisdictionally defective.

Case Information

UID:
2007-039-024
Claimant(s):
JOHN BANCHS RIVERA
Claimant short name:
RIVERA
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112907
Motion number(s):
M-72570
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JAMES H. FERREIRA
Claimant’s attorney:
John Banchs Rivera, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Michael C. RizzoAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 3, 2007
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

John Banchs Rivera, (hereinafter “claimant”), an inmate at Mohawk Correctional Facility, commenced this claim against the State of New York (hereinafter “defendant”) following several determinations by the New York State Parole Board (hereinafter “Board”) denying claimant’s applications for parole. Defendant now moves for an order dismissing the claim on the ground that claimant seeks to challenge the Board’s quasi-judicial determinations denying his parole applications

and the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction of such claims. The Court finds in the first instance that, to the extent claimant seeks to challenge the Board’s determinations denying his parole applications, it is without jurisdiction of such claims. The Board's determination of whether an inmate may be released on parole is “classically judicial” in nature and entitled to complete immunity (Tarter v State of New York, 68 NY2d 511, 518 [1986]; see also Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 217 [1988]). Specifically, it is “the peculiar nature of the duties of the Board of Parole with respect to the weighing of evidence, deciding the relative importance of the determining factors and the ultimate discretionary disposition” which confers absolute immunity on the Board’s official acts (Tarter v State of New York, supra at 519). As a consequence, collateral attacks upon the quasi-judicial determinations of administrative agencies are not cognizable in the Court of Claims and are properly addressed through the commencement of an Article 78 proceeding (see Lublin v State of New York, 135 Misc 2d 419, 420 [1987], affd 135 AD2d 1155 [1987], lv denied 71 NY2d 802 [1988]). As the Court succinctly stated in Lublin v State of New York, (supra at 420),
“[t]he Legislature has not vested the Court of Claims with the power to review determinations of administrative agencies and the acts alleged to have been committed [improprieties in the conduct of a parole revocation hearing] do not come within the purview of the State’s waiver of immunity ... [T]his court has consistently held that where statutes provide a method for review of adjudications by administrative agencies, they must be followed. A collateral review may not be sought under the guise of a claim for money damages [citations omitted].”

Here, the essence of the claim is that the Board erred when it denied claimant’s request for parole - a quasi-judicial determination - and any monetary relief is merely incidental (see Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [2005], quoting Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988]). Accordingly, the Court is without jurisdiction of this aspect of the claim.
The Court further finds that, to the extent claimant seeks relief unrelated to the Board’s determinations, the claim must be dismissed. Whereas the CPLR provides for the liberal construction of pleadings, the Court of Claims Act contains several strict pleading requirements (see Siegel, 2004 Supp Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR 3013, 2007 Pocket Part, at 300-301; Court of Claims Act § 11 [b]). For instance, Court of Claims Act § 11(b) requires that a claim state “the time when and place where such claim arose, the nature of same, and the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and the total sum claimed.” It is well settled that the Court of Claims Act “does not require the State to ferret out or assemble information that section 11 (b) obligates the claimant to allege” (Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 208 [2003]; Cobin v State of New York, 234 AD2d 498, 499 [2d Dept 1996]).
Following a review of the claim, it is unclear to the Court whether claimant has alleged wrongdoing by defendant that is unrelated to the Board’s denials of his parole applications. The claim, which contains 104 discrete paragraphs and is largely incomprehensible, includes, among other things, references to intellectual property, UCC filings, constitutional violations and broad assertions regarding the Board’s alleged misconduct and lack of authority. The Court is unable to decipher the nature of any additional causes of action. Thus, to the extent that claimant seeks redress for any wrongdoing by defendant that is unrelated to the Board’s denial of his parole applications, the Court is compelled to find that the claim is jurisdictionally defective as claimant has failed to set forth such allegations with sufficient particularity (see Court of Claims Act § 11 [b]).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Motion No. M-72570 is hereby granted and the claim is dismissed.
July 3, 2007
Albany, New York
HON. JAMES H. FERREIRA
Judge of the Court of Claims
Papers Considered
:
  1. Notice of Motion to Dismiss filed November 21, 2006;
  2. Affidavit in Support of Motion to Dismiss sworn to on November 21, 2006 with exhibit; and
  3. Answer to Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss sworn to on November 24, 2006.