New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
HEMPHILL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK , # 2010-015-163, Claim No. 117657, Motion No. M-78220


Motion for default judgment against improperly named defendants was denied.

Case information

UID: 2010-015-163
Claimant(s): JOHN HEMPHILL
Claimant short name: HEMPHILL
Footnote (claimant name) :
Footnote (defendant name) : The caption is amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 117657
Motion number(s): M-78220
Cross-motion number(s):
Claimant's attorney: John Hemphill, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Joan Matalavage
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: July 19, 2010
City: Saratoga Springs
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant, a pro se inmate, moves for entry of a default judgment pursuant to CPLR 3215 (e) against the Department of Correctional Services, K. Hendry, Lt. Puckett(2) , and Hearing Officer Harvey, all of whom are or were employees of the Department of Correctional Services at the time of the events alleged in the claim.

The Court of Claims is a Court of limited jurisdiction empowered to award damages in appropriation, contract or tort for claims against the State of New York (see NY Const, art VI, 9; Court of Claims Act 9) and certain other specified entities (see, e.g., Education Law 6224 [4]; Public Authorities Law 361-b and 2622). The Department of Correctional Services is not an independent and autonomous entity which may be sued in its own name (cf. Prime Energy Solutions v State of New York, 20 Misc 3d 750 [2008]). Rather, the State of New York, and not the Department of Correctional Services, is the only properly named defendant in this matter. Inasmuch as the State timely appeared and answered the claim, it was not in default and claimant's motion with respect thereto is denied.

Moreover, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear and decide claims against the individually named defendants. Any claim for money damages against an employee of the Department of Correctional Services acting within the scope of his or her employment must be brought against the State of New York (Correction Law 24 [2]). Accordingly, claimant's motion for a default judgment is denied.

July 19, 2010

Saratoga Springs, New York


Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:

  1. Notice of motion dated May 4, 2010;
  2. Unsworn "Affidavit" of John Hemphill dated May 4, 2010;
  3. Unsworn, undated "Affidavit" of John Hemphill with exhibits;
  4. Letter dated May 7, 2010 from Joan Matalavage.

2. In the claim, improperly denominated a "complaint", which was filed together with a summons, claimant spelled the name alternatively as Lt. Puckett and Lt. Juckett.