New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
KULAKOV v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-015-507, Claim No. 114187

Synopsis

Pro se inmate claim was dismissed following trial. Some of the causes of action were time-barred and others were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Case information

UID: 2010-015-507
Claimant(s): VLADIMIR KULAKOV
Claimant short name: KULAKOV
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.
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 114187
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Vladimir Kulakov, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Stephen Maher, Esquire
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: February 16, 2010
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, alleges various acts of wrongdoing by local and federal law enforcement authorities, Judges, a District Attorney, the New York State Police and New York State Division of Parole. The claim proceeded to trial on December 2, 2009. The claim served upon the Attorney General on August 8, 2007 and filed with the Court on September 4, 2007 asserts ten separately numbered causes of action against the State of New York in relation to events surrounding the claimant's arrest in September 2005 and subsequent prosecution. The Court dismissed the causes of action set forth in paragraphs two, three, four, five, seven, eight and ten upon the motion of the defendant at trial. These causes of action were dismissed for the reasons stated on the record, including that they sought to premise liability upon the acts of local or federal law enforcement authorities, the actions of a State judge during the course of judicial proceedings and, with regard to paragraph ten, that the claim was untimely. As to the cause of action stated in paragraph one of the claim, the Court dismissed that portion pertaining to the judicial activities of Judge Kevin Ryan and denied the motion with regard to the allegations addressed to the actions of New York State Police officers. The defendant's motion to dismiss the cause of action set forth in paragraph six was granted to the extent it sought to premise liability upon the activity of local and federal authorities or the actions of a State employed judge. The motion was denied as to the allegations concerning the actions of New York State parole officers. Finally the cause of action stated in paragraph nine of the claim was withdrawn by the claimant.

The claimant offered no exhibits at trial and testified, briefly, that New York State Police Officers pointed a gun at him and kicked and punched him during the course of an arrest. According to the claimant, he was "in the woods, doing nothing" on September 10, 2005 when the State Police accosted him. The claimant was subsequently arrested for "attempted murder, possession of a weapon and some other charges."

On cross-examination the claimant testified that he was convicted of shooting a New York State Police Officer and agreed that at the time of his arrest the State Police suspected him of involvement in the shooting.

As to the allegation in paragraph six regarding the actions of parole officers, claimant testified that an unnamed parole officer denied his request to obtain a visa and leave the country sometime in 2004.

To the extent claimant's first cause of action was not dismissed prior to trial, claimant's testimony establishes that the conduct for which he seeks damages occurred in the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. A claim or notice of intention to bring a claim is required to be filed and served upon the Attorney General within 90 days following accrual of the claim (Court of Claims Act 10 [3] and 10 [3-b]). The instant claim filed on September 4, 2007 and served on August 8, 2007 is therefore untimely with respect to claimant's first cause of action.(2)

The only remaining aspect of the claim is the allegation set forth in claimant's sixth cause of action directed toward the conduct of unnamed employees of the New York Division of Parole. The claim states in pertinent part the following in this regard:

The D.A. Office and the Courts employees (Judges: Clute; Ryan) . . . and Federal employees (John Does) that denied me to leave USA and they (INS, Parole office) ordered me to stay in USA against my will (kidnapping) and . . . ordered/forced me to work in USA against my will (= slavery) while I served my time and wanted/ requested to leave USA but it was denied.

These allegations fail to satisfy the jurisdictional pleading requirements of Court of Claims Act 11(b) which requires that a claim state "the time when and the place where such claim arose, the nature of same, the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained and . . . the total sum claimed . . . " The guiding principle in determining the sufficiency of a claim is whether it is sufficiently definite " 'to enable the State . . . to investigate the claim[s] promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances' . . . " (Lepkowski v State of New York, 1 NY3d 201, 207 [2003], quoting Heisler v State of New York, 78 AD2d 767, 767 [1980]). Here, the claim fails to specify the time when and the place where the claim arose or any other specific information which would enable the State to investigate the claim. Even if the claim had been properly pled, the claimant's testimony at trial fell woefully short of the quantum of proof required to establish liability, of any sort, by a preponderance of the credible evidence.

Moreover, this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the determination of the New York State Division of Parole. "[W]here statutes provide a method for review of adjudications by administrative agencies, they must be followed. A collateral review may not be sought under the guise of a claim for money damages" (Lublin v State of New York, 135 Misc 2d 419, 420 [Ct Cl 1987], affd 135 AD2d 1155 [1987], lv denied 71 NY2d 802 [1988]). As noted by the Court in Lublin v State of New York (supra) administrative review of parole revocation determinations may be sought pursuant to Executive Law 259-i (4) and 9 NYCRR part 8006. Habeas corpus relief or judicial review of the administrative determination is thereafter available pursuant to CPLR articles 70 or 78. This Court, however, lacks jurisdiction to review such determinations.

Lastly, claimant filed a prior claim that was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (see Kulakov v State of New York, Ct Cl, April 10, 2007 [Claim No. 112861, Motion No. M-72809], Collins, J. [unreported]).(3) Review of the Decision and Order dismissing that claim reflects that many of the allegations that were made in the prior claim are the same as those made here. "Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment precludes reconsideration of all claims which could have or should have been litigated in the prior proceedings against the same party" (Breslin Realty Dev. Corp. v Shaw, ___AD3d ___, ___, 2010 NY Slip Op 00087 [2010], citing Parker v Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Co., 93 NY2d 343, 347).(4)

Based on the foregoing, the claim is dismissed.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

February 16, 2010

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims


2. The defense that the claim was untimely served was properly preserved as the defendant's first defense asserted in its answer to the claim.

3. Unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the internet at www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us.

4. Defendant asserted as its twelfth defense in its answer that the claim is barred by the doctrine of res judicata.