New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

FIGUEROA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, ALEXANDER SANCHEZ, ESQ., #2008-016-068, Claim No. 112854, Motion Nos. M-72645, M-73620, M-73848, M-74265, CM-72938


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2008-016-068
Claimant(s):
CARLOS FIGUEROA
Claimant short name:
FIGUEROA
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK, ALEXANDER SANCHEZ, ESQ.
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112854
Motion number(s):
M-72645, M-73620, M-73848, M-74265
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-72938
Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
Carlos Figueroa, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Ellen Matowik Russell, Esq., AAG and Gwendolyn Hatcher, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
December 16, 2008
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

In motion no. M-72645, defendant moves to dismiss the claim of Carlos Figueroa. Mr. Figueroa cross-moves for an order compelling the production of documents (cross-motion no. CM-72938). He also moves for permission to proceed as a poor person and for the appointment of counsel (motion no. M-73620), to strike defendant’s affirmative defenses (motion no. M-73848)[1] and for permission to file a late claim pursuant to §10.6 of the Court of Claims Act (motion no. M-74265).

In his underlying claim, Figueroa alleges that in May of 1997, attorney Alexander Sanchez was assigned to represent him in connection with certain criminal charges against him. Claimant further alleges that Sanchez failed to adequately represent him in that he agreed to accept an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal without first obtaining claimant’s consent. Figueroa contends that this resolution of the criminal case led to the dismissal of his subsequent federal action for malicious prosecution because it was not considered a dismissal on the merits. Claimant names as defendants in this case the State of New York and attorney Sanchez. As an initial matter, it should be noted that this court has no jurisdiction over individual persons such as Mr. Sanchez. See, e.g., Smith v State of New York, 72 AD2d 937, 938, 422 NYS2d 221, 222 (4th Dept 1979), affd 59 NY2d 718, 463 NYS2d 439 (1983).

Moreover, the State of New York cannot be held liable for the misconduct or malpractice of private attorneys appointed to represent defendants in criminal actions. See, e.g., Harley v State of New York, Ct Cl, January 25, 2001 (unreported, claim no. 101666, motion no. M-61156, UID #2001-016-006[2], Marin, J.). To the extent that claimant alleges federal constitutional violations, the Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction over such claims. Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172, 652 NYS2d 223 (1996). In order to prevail on a claim for state constitutional violations, claimant must demonstrate that he did not have another remedy - - such as a legal malpractice action against his attorney. Martinez v City of Schenectady, 97 NY2d 78, 735 NYS2d 868 (2001); Waxter v State of New York, 33 AD3d 1180, 826 NYS2d 753 (2006).

With regard to claimant’s motion for permission to file a late claim, having shown no valid cause of action, it would be futile to permit a legally deficient claim to proceed. Prusack v State of New York, 117 AD2d 729, 498 NYS2d 455 (2d Dept 1986).

Accordingly, having reviewed the submissions[3], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-72645 be granted and that claim no. 112854 be dismissed. As to cross-motion no. CM-72938, motion no. M-73620 and M-73848, IT IS ORDERED that they be denied as moot. Finally, IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-74265 be denied.



December 16, 2008
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




  1. [1]As defendant made a pre-answer motion to dismiss and thus did not interpose an answer, no affirmative defenses have been asserted. The court will thus consider claimant’s motion papers on motion no. M-73848 as opposition to defendant’s motion to dismiss.
  2. [2]This and other decisions of the Court of Claims may be found on the Court’s website: www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.
  3. [3]The following were reviewed: defendant’s notice of motion no. M-72645 with affirmation in support and exhibits; claimant’s notice of cross-motion no. CM-72938 with “Motion for Production of Documents” and exhibits; defendant’s “Affirmation in Opposition” on motion no. M-72645 and cross-motion no. CM-72938 with exhibits; claimant’s notice of motion no. M-73620 with affidavit in support and exhibits; claimant’s notice of motion no. M-73848 with affidavit in support and exhibits; defendant’s “Affirmation in Further Support of the State’s Motion and in Opposition to Claimant’s Cross-Motion” with exhibit; “Claimant[’]s Second Reply to the State’s Motion to Dismiss the Herein Claim” with affidavit in support and exhibits; claimant’s notice of motion no. M-74265 with affidavit in support and exhibits; defendant’s “Affirmation in Further Support of the State’s Motion and in Opposition to Claimant’s Motion” referencing motion no. M-74265; and Claimant’s “Reply To: Affirmation in Further Support of the State’s Motion and in Opposition to Claimant’s Motion,” referencing motion no. M-74265, with Memorandum of Law.