New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

COLLIC v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-015-083, Claim No. 115090, Motion No. M-75268


Synopsis


Pro se inmate's motion for partial summary judgment was denied where part of his claim was equitable in nature and he otherwise failed to establish his entitlement to summary judgment on the bailment claim.

Case Information

UID:
2008-015-083
Claimant(s):
DAVID H. J. COLLIC
Claimant short name:
COLLIC
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115090
Motion number(s):
M-75268
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
David H. J. Collic, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
November 18, 2008
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, moves for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability arguing that the manner in which a disciplinary hearing was conducted was unlawful and deprived him of his right to due process. Claimant requests monetary relief for excessive confinement, expungement of the disciplinary charges from his record and a transfer to a different correctional facility. The claim sets forth causes of action for assault and bailment as follows:
"On 2-6-2008. . . during a post-fight strip search [I was] first verbally threaten[ed] [with] physical violence, which was followed by just that. Without provocation assaulted claimant by first smashing claimant's forehead twice into exam room #2's hospital's cinder block wall. Done specifically by C/O Thomas Lynch. Claimant was . . . drag[ed] to floor by all #3 C/O's, where defendant began beating claimant with leather blue color gloved fist[s], batons & kicking him with heavy boots throughout claimant's body. . . On 2-6-08 claimant was taken to seg. population cell E–2-20 was pack up by unknown C/O's- Henry Kloss model 88, Hot pot - 10 stamps stolen - see amend - supporting complaints."
Claimant attached to the filed claim additional handwritten allegations regarding the conduct of the disciplinary hearing. Specifically, he alleges that both the audio tape of the hearing[1] and the video tape of the incident had been altered. He also contends that the blood-stained wall which was visible on the video despite the tampering supports his contention that his head was smashed against the wall and not the floor as the correction officers had claimed.

Among the papers submitted in support of the claimant's motion are the hearing disposition sheet, reflecting that the claimant was found guilty of creating a disturbance, fighting, refusing a direct order, violent conduct and refusing a search or frisk. The findings of guilt were affirmed on administrative appeal and there is no indication that review of the administrative determination was sought in the Supreme Court pursuant to article 78.

First, assuming without deciding that a cause of action for excessive wrongful confinement can be inferred from the claim, any such cause of action lacks merit. It is well-settled that the Court of Claims has "no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief" (Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413, 416 [1954]). Thus, where a cause of action requires review of an administrative determination, as it would here, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (City of New York v State of New York, 46 AD3d 1168 [2007], lv denied 10 NY3d 705 [2008]; Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641 [2007]). The proper avenue of redress for one aggrieved by an administrative determination is an article 78 proceeding in the supreme court, not a plenary action for monetary relief in the Court of Claims. As a result, summary judgment on claimant's purported cause of action for "excessive confinement" must be denied.

Claimant's request for a transfer to a different correctional facility must also be denied for the reason that this Court lacks jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief (see Court of Claims Act § 9 [2]; Psaty v Duryea, supra).

Nor has claimant submitted evidence in admissible form entitling him to summary judgment on his causes of action for assault or bailment. It is well established that " 'summary judgment is a drastic remedy and should not be granted where there is any doubt as to the existence of a triable issue' " (Rotuba Extruders v Ceppos, 46 NY2d 223, 231 [1978][citation omitted]). As the party seeking summary judgment, claimant must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by offering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issues of fact (Cox v Kingsboro Med. Group, 88 NY2d 904 [1996]; Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851 [1985]; Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557 [1980]). Failure to make a prima facie showing requires denial of a motion for summary judgment regardless of the sufficiency of the opposing papers (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d at 853). Here, claimant failed to meet his initial burden of establishing his entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law. Based on the foregoing, claimant's motion for partial summary judgment is denied.


November 18, 2008
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Motion for partial summary judgment filed July 17, 2008;
  2. "Declaration" of David H. J. Collic verified June 20, 2008 with exhibits;
  3. Affirmation of Saul Aronson dated July 30, 2008 with exhibit;
  4. "Affirmation" of David H. J. Collic filed September 4, 2008 with exhibits.

[1]. The transcript of the audio tape reflects that the recording device had indeed been turned off during the hearing and an interdepartmental communication from P. Vanguilder, DSS, indicates that the testimony of one of the claimant's requested witnesses, a nurse, had not been recorded. Nonetheless, the charges against the claimant were not dismissed (see claimant's Exhibit A-6).