New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SLOANE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-015-090, Claim No. 115398, Motion No. M-75281


Synopsis


Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was granted. Claimant's recourse to challenge his designation by DOCS as a central monitoring case was in an article 78 proceeding, not an action in the Court of Claims.

Case Information

UID:
2008-015-090
Claimant(s):
DEREK SLOANE
Claimant short name:
SLOANE
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115398
Motion number(s):
M-75281
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Derek Sloane, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Belinda A. Wagner, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
November 20, 2008
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Defendant moves to dismiss the instant claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to, inter alia, CPLR 3211 (a) (2). Claimant alleges that he was incorrectly designated as a "Central Monitoring Case" (CMC) and, as a result, has suffered the consequences of confinement in a maximum security prison as well as the loss of certain privileges such as eligibility for work release. He alleges that upon his arrival in Great Meadow Correctional Facility he inquired of his Correction Counselor as to why he was placed in a maximum security prison for a non-violent crime and was informed that "according to our files, documents, your [sic] (CMC), Central Monitoring Case. Your [sic] an escapee." Claimant alleges that he is not and never was an escapee and that his designation as such is incorrect.

The law is clear that "[a]s a court of limited jurisdiction, the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief" (Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [2005], citing Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670, 671 [1997] and Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413 [1954]). The threshold question in determining the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is "[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recover money, or whether the monetary relief is incidental to the primary claim" (Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988]; see also Guy v State of New York, 18 AD3d 936 [2005]). "The second inquiry, regardless of how a claimant categorizes a claim, is whether the claim would require review of an administrative agency's determination – which the Court of Claims has no subject matter jurisdiction to entertain, as review of such determinations are properly brought only in Supreme Court in a CPLR article 78 proceeding" (City of New York v State of New York, 46 AD3d 1168 [2007], lv denied 10 NY3d 705 [2008]; citing Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641, 642 [2007] and Matter of Scherbyn v Wayne-Finger Lakes Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 77 NY2d 753 [1991]; see also Matter of Salahuddin v Connell, 53 AD3d 898 [2008]; Sidoti v State of New York, 115 AD2d 202, 203 [1985]; Schaffer v Evans, 86 AD2d 708, 709 [1982], affd 57 NY2d 992 [1982]). Where an act of an administrative agency is challenged on the ground that it "was made in violation of lawful procedure, was affected by an error of law or was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion" a proceeding in the form prescribed by article 78 should be maintained (CPLR 7803[3]).

Here, movant's essential claim is equitable in nature in that he is challenging the administrative determination to place him in a maximum security prison and classify him as a Central Monitoring Case. The appropriate vehicle to challenge an inmate's classification as a Central Monitoring Case or the placement of an inmate in a particular facility is an article 78 proceeding to annul the administrative determination (see Matter of Smith v Goord, 43 AD3d 1236 [2007]; Matter of Caban v Department of Correctional Servs., 278 AD2d 620 [2000]; Matter of Colon v Goord, 243 AD2d 901 [1997]). As stated by the Court in Madura v State of New York, (12 AD3d at 761) this case is a "quintessential example of a dispute governed under CPLR article 78" (see also Harvard Fin. Servs. v State of New York, 266 AD2d 685 [1999]).

Inasmuch as this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to annul an administrative determination, the defendant's motion to dismiss the claim based upon lack of subject matter jurisdiction is granted. Accordingly, the defendant's motion to dismiss the instant claim pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (2) is granted and the claim is dismissed.


November 20, 2008
Saratoga Springs, New York

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


The Court considered the following papers:

  1. Notice of motion dated July 24, 2008;
  2. Affirmation of Belinda A. Wagner dated July 24, 2008 with exhibits;
  3. "Notice of motion in opposition to Defendant, State motion" of Derek Sloane dated August 1, 2008 with exhibits;
  4. Reply affirmation of Belinda A. Wagner dated August 18, 2008.