New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WORD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-032-152, Claim No. 116177, Motion Nos. M-76076, M-76177, M-76390, M-76725


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2009-032-152
Claimant(s):
DIANE WORD
Claimant short name:
WORD
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
116177
Motion number(s):
M-76076, M-76177, M-76390, M-76725
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant’s attorney:
Diane Word, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Joan Matalavage, Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 13, 2009
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant’s motions to dismiss the Claim and Amended Claim are granted, and the Claim and Amended Claim are dismissed.


Claimant filed Claim No. 116177 on December 8, 2008, alleging that as a result of an October 24, 2007 Parole Release Decision Notice, the New York State Parole Board falsely imprisoned Claimant and intentionally inflicted emotional and mental distress upon her. In lieu of serving an Answer, Defendant moved to dismiss the Claim (Motion No. M-76076), on the basis that the Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction to review decisions of the Parole Board or the Division of Parole. On February 9, 2009, Claimant filed a document titled “Notice of Amended Claim,” which, in sum and substance, asserts the same cause of action as the Claim. Defendant moved to dismiss said Amended Claim (Motion No. M-76390) for the same reasons set forth in its Motion to Dismiss the Claim. In the interim, Claimant filed a Motion for a Default Judgment (M-76177). Claimant also filed a Motion for an Expeditious Judgment (M-76725).

In opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, Claimant argues that the Court has jurisdiction because her claim shows Defendant’s “willful official misconduct of not correcting 10/24/07 Parole Release Decision Notice was irrational ‘boardering on impropriety’ and thus is arbitrary and capricious” (Claimant’s Pro Se Reply Objecting to Defendant’s Affidavit, dated January 12, 2009, at paragraph 2).

The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and does not have jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief (see Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413 [1954]; Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home Inc. v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670 [3d Dept 1997]). It may, however, grant incidental equitable relief so long as the primary claim seeks to recover money damages in appropriation, contract or tort cases (Court of Claims Act § 9 [2]; see Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY 413 [1954], supra). “[I]n determining the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court of Claims, the threshold question is ‘[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recover money, or whether the monetary relief is incidental to the primary claim’” (Madura v State of New York, 12 AD3d 759, 760 [2004], lv denied 4 NY3d 704 [2005], quoting Matter of Gross v Perales, 72 NY2d 231, 236 [1988]).

It is well settled that regardless of how a claimant categorizes his or her claim, if the claim requires review of an administrative agency’s determination, the Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction (see Matter of Salahuddin v Connell, 53 AD3d 898 [3d Dept 2008]). Claims seeking a review of such determinations are only able to be properly brought in the Supreme Court pursuant to a CPLR Article 78 proceeding (see Matter of Scherbyn v Wayne-Finger Lakes Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 77 NY2d 753 [1991]).

As Claimant challenges the discretionary decision of the New York State Parole Board with respect to its denial of her release from incarceration, the essential nature of her Claim and Amended Claim is equitable relief. Accordingly, the Court of Claims does not have jurisdiction. Based upon the foregoing, the Court grants Defendant’s motions to dismiss the Claim and Amended Claim (Motion Nos. M-76076 and M-76390) and dismisses the Claim and Amended Claim. Claimant’s Motion for a Default Judgment (Motion No. M-76177) and Motion for an Expeditious judgment (Motion No. M-76725) are denied as moot.


October 13, 2009
Albany, New York

HON. JUDITH A. HARD
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers Considered:
Motion No. M-76076

1. Defendant’s Notice of Motion to Dismiss, dated January 9, 2009, and Affidavit in Support of Motion to Dismiss, sworn to by Joan Matalavage, AAG, on January 8, 2009, with Exhibit;

2. Claimant’s Pro Se Reply Objecting to Defendant’s Affidavit, dated January 12, 2009.

3. Notice of Amended Claim, dated February 2, 2009;

4. Defendant’s Affidavit in Opposition, sworn to by Joan Matalavage, AAG, on February 19,

2009.
Motion No. M-76177

1. Claimant’s Notice of Motion for Default Judgment and Affirmation of Diane Word, dated January 19, 2009;

2. Defendant’s Affidavit in Opposition to Motion for Default Judgment, sworn to by Joan Matalavage, AAG, on January 26, 2009;

3. Notice of Amended Claim, dated February 2, 2009;

4. Defendant’s Affidavit in Opposition, sworn to by Joan Matalavage, AAG, on February 19, 2009.
Motion No. M-76390
1. Defendant’s Notice of Motion to Dismiss, dated March 13, 2009, and Affidavit of Joan Matalavage, AAG, sworn to on March 13, 2009, with Exhibits.
Motion No. M-76725

1. Claimant’s Motion for Expeditious Judgment and Affirmation in Support of Diane Word, dated May 18, 2009;

2. Letter from Joan Matalavage, AAG, dated July 17, 2009, in response to motion;

3. Claimant’s Pro Se Objection to Defendant’s Motion Letter, dated July 20, 2009.

Filed Papers: Claim, filed December 8, 2008; Amended Claim, filed February 9, 2009.