New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HORTON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-009-006, Claim No. 115864, Motion Nos. M-75630, M-75747, CM-75866


Synopsis


Defendant’s pre-answer motion to dismiss the claim was granted based upon the absolute immunity provided by Arteaga. Claimant’s motion and cross-motion were both denied as moot.

Case Information

UID:
2009-009-006
Claimant(s):
ROBERT HORTON
Claimant short name:
HORTON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115864
Motion number(s):
M-75630, M-75747
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-75866
Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant’s attorney:
ROBERT HORTON, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General
BY: Thomas M. Trace, Esq.
Senior AttorneyOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 12, 2009
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

This Decision and Order addresses three motions. In the first motion (M-75630), claimant seeks a “waiver” of the service requirements set forth in Court of Claims Act § 11(a). Shortly thereafter, defendant brought a pre-answer motion (M-75747) seeking an order dismissing the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Claimant then responded with a cross-motion (CM-75866) seeking an order granting him summary judgment on this claim.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with these motions:
Notice of Motion, “Notice of Claim” (M-75630) 1,2


Answering Affirmation, with Exhibit (M-75630) 3

Claimant’s Reply, with Exhibit (M-75630) 4


Pre-Answer Notice of Motion to Dismiss, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibit (M-75747)

5,6


Notice of Cross-Motion, Affidavit, Memorandum of Law (CM-75866) 7,8,9


Affirmation in Opposition to Cross-Motion (CM-75866) 10


Correspondence from claimant, dated December 14, 2008 11

In his first motion (M-75630), claimant seeks a waiver of the service requirements set forth in Court of Claims Act § 11(a), which requires that claims be served either by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service. Subsequent to the filing of this motion, however, claimant has submitted documentary proof to the Court (Exhibit A to Item 4) that he has now served the claim upon the Attorney General by certified mail, return receipt requested, as required by statute. By doing so, claimant has rendered this motion moot.

The Court, however, must still address defendant’s motion (M-75747), seeking an order dismissing this claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

In his claim, claimant seeks money damages based upon allegations that correction officers at Mid-State Correctional Facility prohibited claimant from possessing certain items of personal property. Specifically, claimant alleges that, pursuant to prison regulations, he was allowed to possess a particular type of blanket, calculator, hair trimmer, and certain articles of clothing, but that facility personnel prohibited him from possessing these items in contravention of those prison regulations. Claimant further alleges in his claim that after mailing these items to a family member for safekeeping, he filed a grievance contesting the decision which did not allow him to possess these items. The grievance was denied, and all administrative appeals affirmed this denial.

Claimant now seeks monetary damages for not being allowed to possess these particular items while incarcerated at Mid-State Correctional Facility. These allegations, however, do not state a viable cause of action for which money damages can be recovered in this Court. The actions which were taken by facility officials in this matter involve a discretionary exercise of a quasi-judicial nature for which the State is accorded absolute immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212). Due to this absolute immunity provided by Arteaga, the State’s motion to dismiss this claim must be granted (Lakram v State of New York, 206 AD2d 568).

Based on this determination that the within claim must be dismissed, claimant’s cross-motion for summary judgment is rendered moot and must be denied.[1]

For the reasons set forth herein, it is therefore

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-75630 is hereby DENIED as moot; and it is further

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-75747 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Cross-Motion No. CM-75866 is DENIED as moot; and it is further

ORDERED, that Claim No. 115864 is hereby DISMISSED.


March 12, 2009
Syracuse, New York

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




[1]. The Court also notes that claimant’s cross-motion for summary judgment was premature, since issue in this matter has not been joined, and as such, is not permitted pursuant to CPLR Rule 3212(a).