New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

YATES v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-009-036, Claim No. 115445, Motion No. M-75400


Synopsis


Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim for failure to state a cause of action was granted.

Case Information

UID:
2008-009-036
Claimant(s):
PHILLIP YATES
Claimant short name:
YATES
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115445
Motion number(s):
M-75400
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant’s attorney:
PHILLIP YATES, 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:
December 29, 2008
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 Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibit 1,2


Affidavit in Opposition, with Attachments 3


Filed Papers: Claim.

In his claim, claimant alleges that he was improperly removed from the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) Program while he was confined at Mid-State Correctional Facility. Claimant further alleges that his failure to complete this program adversely affected his eligibility for parole release as well as his conditional release date. Claimant seeks $50,000,000.00 in damages. Claimant has set forth two separate causes of action in his claim designated “abuse of process” and “negligence”.

In his Affidavit in Opposition to this motion, claimant additionally asserts that the ASAT Coordinator violated certain provisions of the “Employee Rulebook Manual” in discharging claimant from the ASAT Program, and also discriminated against claimant in violation of his State constitutional rights.

Regardless of how the different causes of action have been framed by the claimant, either in his claim or in his Affidavit in Opposition to this motion, each and every cause of action is based upon the decision of the ASAT Coordinator to remove claimant from the ASAT Program. However, the actions of employees of the Department of Correctional Services in preparing and filing such 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, which seeks monetary damages based upon the decision of the ASAT Coordinator to remove claimant from the ASAT Program is precluded, since the Coordinator was exercising a quasi-judicial function for which the absolute immunity provided by Arteaga applies. This immunity applies even where it has been asserted that the decision was the result of an improper motive (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).

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-75400 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Claim No. 115445 is hereby DISMISSED.


December 29, 2008
Syracuse, New York

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