Trial of this bifurcated claim was held on October 1, 2007.
Prior to the receipt of testimony, defendant moved to dismiss the claim, or,
alternatively, to preclude Alexis Serrano (claimant) from testifying, based upon
claimant’s failure to appear for a deposition on September 28, 2007.
Defendant argued that claimant had previously failed to appear for a deposition
pursuant to court discovery orders issued on January 11, 2007 and September 6,
Claimant’s trial attorney acknowledged that claimant had failed to appear
for the September 28th deposition but explained that claimant’s attorney
of record had been unable to contact claimant in time to insure claimant’s
appearance. Claimant’s attorney also argued that a transcript of
claimant’s sworn testimony at a General Municipal Law 50-h hearing
regarding issues raised in the claim had been provided to defendant.
The Court notes that defendant did not make any application, prior to trial,
for an order compelling claimant to appear for deposition, despite the pendency
of the claim for over three (3) years. Also, it does not appear that claimant
willfully, or even knowingly, failed to appear for his deposition. In the
interests of justice, defendant’s motion to preclude claimant’s
testimony is denied.
Claimant testified that on May 26, 2004, at approximately 9:00 p.m., he was
arrested at his home by the Mastic Beach, New York police for pushing his
ex-wife during an argument. The complaint to the police had been made by
claimant’s ex-wife. At trial, claimant candidly acknowledged that he had
pushed his ex-wife during the argument.
After his arrest, claimant was held in Shirley, New York overnight and then
brought to Riverhead, New York where bail was set at $300. Claimant testified
that he remained in jail at Riverhead for 2 days and then was transferred to
Yaphank, New York, where he remained in jail for 9 to 10 days. Upon release from
Yaphank, after his bail was posted at Riverhead, claimant states that he was
jailed at Riker’s Island, New York, for an additional 3 days.
As far as the Court can ascertain from the testimony, the basis of the claim is
the confinement of claimant at Riker’s Island after he was released on
bail for the Mastic Beach arrest.
Claimant testified that he did not know why he was jailed at Riker’s
Island except that someone mentioned an “open warrant.” He suggested
that he was brought to Riker’s Island because “they think I’m
the person they are looking for.”
In addition to his testimony, claimant attempted to offer into evidence a
document which was entitled “Order to Compel DCJS to Correct Rap Sheet of
Alexis Serrano NYSID# 6507363H,” which was allegedly issued by a Kings
County Supreme Court Justice. The Court sustained the defendant’s
objection to the document being admitted into evidence based upon its lack of
attestation or certification pursuant to CPLR 4540.
The Court has also reviewed the claim which alleges that defendant is
responsible for the “negligence, acts, errors and omissions of its
employees and agents.” In particular, claimant alleges that defendant
State of New York “staffed the Courts of the City of New York with clerks
and support personnel duly employed by the State of New York.” The claim
further alleges that the employees acted in violation of the guidelines and
procedures of the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services. The
claim contends that the “court clerks . . . and court personal (sic)
failed to properly void or invalidate the . . . warrant and failed to seal same
against claimant, which improperly and illegally caused his . . . false arrest
and/or imprisonment in May-June, 2004.”
At trial, claimant offered no admissible proof to support the allegations of
the claim and, specifically, provided no evidence that any act or omission of
the State of New York caused his arrest or imprisonment, at whatever location
for whatever length. Claimant admitted that he was appropriately arrested by the
Mastic Beach police based upon the complaint of his ex-wife and he then simply
recounted that he spent approximately 15 days in various jails prior to his
Claimant offered no admissible proof, beyond a vague statement that someone
mentioned an open warrant, that he was arrested and confined pursuant to a
warrant or, if he was arrested on the basis of a warrant, that it was invalid
and that the State of New York knew, or should have known, that it was invalid.
Claimant presented no evidence that the defendant, through its Division of
Criminal Justice Services, caused an invalid warrant to be issued or remain
Defendant’s motion for dismissal is granted. The claim is
All motions not previously decided are hereby denied.
Let judgment be entered accordingly.