New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RODRIGUEZ v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-040-048, Claim No. 116229, Motion Nos. M-76502, M-76503


Synopsis


Motion to dismiss Claim and Amended Claim granted. Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to overturn determination of Parole Board.

Case Information

UID:
2009-040-048
Claimant(s):
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ
Claimant short name:
RODRIGUEZ
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
116229
Motion number(s):
M-76502, M-76503
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant’s attorney:
Francisco Rodriguez, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Thomas R. Monjeau, Esq., AAG and Paul F. Cagino, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 8, 2009
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

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

The Claim, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court on December 19, 2008, alleges that Claimant had a Parole Board Hearing on November 14, 2007 and that, by decision dated November 15, 2007, he was denied parole (Claim, ¶ 2). Claimant asserts that the decision was arbitrary and capricious and that he is being denied his constitutional rights. Claimant further asserts that: he filed an administrative appeal with the Appeals Unit of the Division of Parole on April 11, 2008; the Appeals Unit had four months from that date to render a decision; it failed to do so; and, therefore, pursuant to 9 NYCRR § 8006.4(c), Claimant deems his administrative remedies exhausted, and seeks judicial review of the underlying determination of the Parole Board (see Ex. C attached to Claim).

When Claimant filed his Claim, he also filed a Motion for Reduction of the Court’s Filing Fee pursuant to CPLR 1101(f). That motion was denied by order of Presiding Judge Richard E. Sise, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court on January 13, 2009. The order gave Claimant 120 days from the date of filing the order to pay the Court’s filing fee. Thereafter, on January 23, 2009, the State filed its Motion to Dismiss the Claim with the Clerk of the Court (M-76502). Motion M-76502 was held in abeyance by the Clerk’s office until Claimant paid his filing fee. Thereafter, the motion was processed by the Clerk’s office on April 9, 2009 and assigned a return date of May 13, 2009.

On March 12, 2009, Claimant filed an Amended Claim with the Clerk of the Court. The Amended Claim, in sum and substance, asserts the same cause of action as the Claim. On March 18, 2009, the State filed its Motion to Dismiss the Amended Claim (M-76503) with the Clerk of the Court. That motion also was held by the Clerk’s office pending Claimant’s payment of the aforementioned filing fee. The State’s motion was processed on April 9, 2009 and given a May 13, 2009 return date as well.

Defendant asserts in its motion papers that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the Claim as it should be brought as an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court. Claimant has not submitted opposition papers to either motion.

The Appellate Division, Third Department, in City of New York v State of New York (46 AD3d 1168, 1169 [3d Dept 2007]), states:
Two inquiries must be made to determine if the Court of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction. As that court has “no jurisdiction to grant strictly equitable relief” (Psaty v Duryea, 306 NY413, 416 [1954]), but may grant incidental equitable relief so long as the primary claim seeks to recover money damages in appropriation, contract or tort cases (see Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home v State of New York, 241 AD2d 670, 671 [1997]), the “threshold question is ‘[w]hether the essential nature of the claim is to recovery 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]). The second inquiry, regardless of how a claimant categorizes a claim, is whether the claim would require review of an administrative agency’s determination – which the Court of Claims has no subject matter jurisdiction to entertain (see Hoffman v State of New York, 42 AD3d 641, 642 [2007]), as review of such determinations are properly brought only in Supreme Court in a CPLR article 78 proceeding (see Matter of Scherbyn v Wayne-Finger Lakes Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 77 NY2d 753, 757 [1991]).
Upon review of the Claim and the Amended Claim, it is obvious to the Court that Claimant seeks judicial review of the Parole Board determination which denied him parole. In order to award Claimant a money judgment, the Court would have to review and overturn or annul the Parole Board determination. The appropriate remedy for such a challenge is a CPLR Article 78 proceeding (see Matter of Ariola v New York State Division of Parole, ___ AD3d ___ [3d Dept May 28, 2009]). This Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the Claim, which is equitable in nature. Therefore, the State’s motions to dismiss the Claim and the Amended Claim are granted and they are dismissed.


June 8, 2009
Albany, New York

HON. CHRISTOPHER J. MCCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read and considered by the Court on Defendant’s Motions to dismiss the Claim and the Amended Claim:

Papers Numbered


Motion No. M-76502


Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support

of Thomas R. Monjeau, Esq., AAG,
& Exhibit Attached 1



Motion No. M-76503


Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support

of Paul F. Cagino, Esq., AAG,
& Exhibit Attached 2



Papers Filed: Claim, Amended Claim