New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROWN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-033-318, Claim No. 109726, Motion No. M-75132


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

James J. Lack
Claimant’s attorney:
Earvin Brown, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Attorney GeneralBy: Thomas R. Monjeau, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
September 26, 2008

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This claim is brought for damages by Earvin Brown (hereinafter “claimant”). Claimant alleges violations by the State of New York (hereinafter “defendant”) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (hereinafter “Rehab Act”). According to claimant, the claim first arose on September 11, 1996 and continuing to present.

Defendant moves to dismiss the claim[1]. Defendant argues that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and that the claim is untimely. The federal statutes for which claimant alleges violations do not provide for a private right or cause of action and the remedies provided by the statutes are equitable in nature.

Claimant cross-moves for discovery.

Claimant is an inmate located in Sullivan Correctional Facility, Sullivan County, New York. Claimant is legally blind and alleges that he has been discriminated against in the prison system and denied aids to make his life equal to that of non-disabled inmates. Claimant does not seek monetary damages. According to the claim, claimant seeks changes to the facilities he is housed in; equipment to aid claimant’s daily life; educational opportunities; cessation of retaliatory acts; and, access to specialists.

The establishment of the court system is found in Article VI of the New York State Constitution. Article VI, §7 states that the Supreme Court shall "have general original jurisdiction in law and equity and the appellate jurisdiction herein provided."
The Supreme Court in this State is a court of general original jurisdiction in law and equity (see N. Y. Const., art. VI, §7, subd. a.) and, in conformity with its all inclusive powers, the court is authorized in any action to render such judgment as is appropriate to the proofs received in conformity with the allegations of the pleadings, irrespective of the nature of the relief demanded, subject, of course, in a proper case, to the imposition of such terms as may be necessary to protect the rights of any party.

(Kaminsky v Kahn, 23 AD2d 231, 236).

Separately, the Court of Claims is established by NY Const. Art. VI, §9, which states, in relevant part that "[t]he court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine claims against the state or by the state against the claimant or between conflicting claimants as the legislature may provide." The Court of Claims is limited to awarding money damages against the State of New York (Matter of Silverman v Comptroller of The State of New York, 40 AD2d 225).

While claimant does make a monetary request in the ad damnum clause of the claim, the money is not the main thrust of claimant’s suit. Claimant seeks a cure for the inequitable treatment he believes he has had to tolerate. Claimant seeks to be on an equal footing as other non-disabled inmates. This Court does not have the authority to grant claimant those items he seeks as damages.

Based upon the foregoing, defendant’s motion is granted and the claim is dismissed. Claimant’s cross-motion is denied as moot.

September 26, 2008
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1].The following papers were read and considered on defendant’s motion: Notice of Motion dated June 17, 2008 and filed June 18, 2008; Defendant’s Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss of Thomas R. Monjeau, Esq. dated June 17, 2008 and filed June 18, 2008; Settlement and Discovery Requested of Earvin Brown dated April 2, 2008 and sworn to April 21, 2008 (unfiled but considered by the Court as a cross-motion for discovery).