Motion for default judgment against improperly named defendants was denied.
|Claimant short name:||HEMPHILL|
|Footnote (claimant name) :|
|Defendant(s):||THE STATE OF NEW YORK|
|Footnote (defendant name) :||The caption is amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant.|
|Judge:||FRANCIS T. COLLINS|
|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|
|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 ; 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 ). 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 ). Accordingly, claimant's motion for a default judgment is denied.
July 19, 2010
Saratoga Springs, New York
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims
The Court considered the following papers:
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.