New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

REDDICK v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-018-019, Claim No. NONE, Motion No. M-75551


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2009-018-019
Claimant(s):
GREGORY REDDICK
Claimant short name:
REDDICK
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
NONE
Motion number(s):
M-75551
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
GREGORY REDDICKPro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Bonnie Gail Levy, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
March 24, 2009
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Movant brings a motion seeking permission to file a late claim[1] for the alleged improper

conduct of certain officers toward Movant, the incorrect findings made at a Tier III hearing resulting in the imposition of punishment and placement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and his wrongful confinement after the findings of the Tier III hearing were reversed on appeal. Defendant opposes the motion.

Court of Claims Act § 10(6) allows a claimant who has failed to properly serve a notice of intention or who has failed to file and properly serve a claim within the time frame set forth in Court of Claims Act § 10 to make an application to the Court to file such a claim, in the discretion of the Court, at any time before an action asserting a like claim against a citizen of the State would be barred under article two of the CPLR (Court of Claims Act § 10[6]). Here, the proposed claim asserts intentional misconduct by certain correction officers, intentional errors in judgment at the Superintendent’s hearing and the retention of Movant in the SHU beyond the date he was to be released. Causes of action sounding in intentional misconduct are subject to a one-year statute of limitations (Court of Claims Act § 10[3-b]; CPLR 215). A cause of action for wrongful detention has been held to be an unintentional cause of action, unless purely intentional acts are alleged (see Ramirez v State of New York, 171 Misc 2d 677, 680-683; Livingston v State of New York, Ct Cl, DeBow, J., signed October 31, 2007, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-73835 [UID # 2007-038-569]; Cancel v State of New York, Ct Cl, Hard, J., signed December 18, 2002, Claim No. 106521, Motion No. M-65864 [UID # 2002-032-019]). Here, Movant alleges that he was retained in the SHU beyond February 17, 2006, the date he was “ordered” to be released. Movant describes the actions which resulted in his continued commitment as intentional. To the extent that all of Movant’s allegations assert intentional wrongdoing and accrued, for purposes of this discussion at the latest on March 10, 2006, this motion for permission to file any claim for intentional wrongdoing is untimely and the Court lacks the authority to grant the application (Court of Claims Act § 10[6]; CPLR §215).

Even if the Court were to consider the application and the statutory factors, Movant has not asserted a viable excuse for failing to timely file and serve a claim (see Matter of Robinson v State of New York, 35 AD3d 948; Matter of Sandlin v State of New York, 294 AD2d 723; Matter of Thomas v State of New York, 272 AD2d 650; Matter of Sevilla v State of New York, 145 AD2d 865).

Nor do Movant’s allegations that two correction officers wrongly issued two misbehavior reports against him or that the hearing officer improperly found Movant guilty after the hearing and imposed time in the SHU, loss of good time and privileges raise viable causes of action in this Court. A proposed claim appears meritorious if it is not patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective, and upon consideration of the entire record, there is cause to believe that a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Authority, 92 Misc 2d 1, 11). This Court is without the authority to review the internal handling of matters of discipline within the confines of the prison setting, as the actions of correctional facility employees in this area are quasi-judicial in nature and subject to absolute immunity (Holloway v State of New York, 285 AD2d 765,766; Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 214, 218-220). Unless the correction employees have exceeded the scope of their authority or violated specific governing statutes and regulations, which Movant has not alleged here, they are blanketed with immunity because the Courts recognize that permitting correction officers to have discretion, free of the threat of retaliatory lawsuits, is critical to preserve order and discipline within the State’s penal institutions (see Arteaga, 72 NY2d at 216, 220). These discretionary matters cannot form the basis for a viable claim in this Court.

Accordingly, based upon the foregoing, Movant’s motion is DENIED.


March 24, 2009
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:

1. Notice of Motion.

2. Affidavit of Gregory Reddick sworn to August 21, 2008, in support with exhibits attached thereto.

3. Affirmation of Bonnie Gail Levy, Esquire, Assistant Attorney General, in opposition with exhibits attached thereto.

4. Movant, Gregory Reddick’s undated, unsworn, unsigned “Claimant’s Motion in Opposition to Dismiss Claim” with attachments.


[1]. It appears that Claimant filed the proposed claim with the Clerk of the Court on August 27, 2008, and it was given Claim No. 115755.