New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
MEDINA v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2021-053-549, Claim No. 126720, Motion No. M-96838

Synopsis

The State's motion to dismiss claim as untimely is granted. Claimant, a former incarcerated person, sought to recover for a period of wrongful confinement. The Court finds that claimant failed to file and serve his claim within 90 days of accrual and that the State objected to the claim's untimeliness with sufficient particularity in its answer.

Case information

UID: 2021-053-549
Claimant(s): ANTHONY MEDINA
Claimant short name: MEDINA
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 126720
Motion number(s): M-96838
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: J. DAVID SAMPSON
Claimant's attorney: ANTHONY MEDINA, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: HON. LETITIA JAMES
New York State Attorney General
BY: Timothy J. Flynn, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: October 7, 2021
City: Buffalo
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant Anthony Medina, a former incarcerated individual, seeks to recover for an alleged 153-day wrongful confinement at Wende Correctional Facility from December 5, 2014 to May 6, 2015. Mr. Medina alleges that while he was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) holding pen on December 5, 2014, he was denied access to a bathroom, which led to issuance of an Inmate Misbehavior Report that charged him with committing an unhygienic act. Following his tier III Superintendent's hearing on January 5, 2015, claimant was found guilty and sentenced to 120 days SHU confinement and loss of privileges. Mr. Medina's guilty finding was administratively affirmed. However, claimant alleges that he filed a CPLR article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court, which was successful and, by decision and order dated August 18, 2015, his guilty finding was purportedly vacated.

On September 11, 2015, claimant filed his claim with the Clerk of the Court. On September 14, 2015, Mr. Medina served his claim upon the Attorney General's Office. Defendant's answer was served on October 21, 2015.

Now before the Court is defendant's motion seeking dismissal of the claim as untimely. For reasons stated below, the Court will grant the unopposed motion.

Causes of action for alleged wrongful confinements generally sound in intentional tort (see Ramirez v State of New York, 171 Misc 2d 677 [Ct Cl 1997]).(1) Court of Claims Act 10 (3-b) requires that claims for personal injuries caused by the intentional torts of State employees be filed and served within 90 days of accrual, unless a notice of intention to file a claim is served within that time frame, in which case a claimant has one year from accrual to file and serve an intentional tort claim.

The claim accrued on May 6, 2015 when Mr. Medina was released from SHU (see Davis v State of New York, 89 AD3d 1287 [3d Dept 2011]), not when his guilty finding was allegedly reversed (see Campos v State of New York, 139 AD3d 1276, 1277 [3d Dept 2016]). Thus, claimant had 90 days from May 6, 2015 to serve his notice of intention, or to file and serve his claim. However, Mr. Medina did not file his claim until September 11, 2015 or serve the Attorney General's Office until September 14, 2015.(2)

Court of Claims Act 11 (c) requires that objections based upon the time limitations in section 10 be raised with particularity in the answer or a prejoinder motion to dismiss. In its answer, defendant alleges that Mr. Medina failed to timely serve his claim pursuant to sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Court of Claims Act, thereby depriving the Court of jurisdiction (see answer at paras SEVENTH-NINTH, THIRTEENTH). Specifically, defendant alleges that the claim is untimely because neither a notice of intention nor a claim were served within 90 days of the May 6, 2015 accrual date; the claim was not received by the Attorney General's Office until September 14, 2015 (id. at para THIRTEENTH). The Court finds that defendant objected to the claim's untimeliness with sufficient particularity. The requirements of the Court of Claims Act are to be strictly construed, and the failure to file and serve a claim within those time limitations is a jurisdictional defect that compels dismissal (see Welch v State of New York, 286 AD2d 496, 497-498 [2d Dept 2001]). As such, the claim will be dismissed as untimely.

Based upon the above, it is hereby

ORDERED, that defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed.

October 7, 2021

Buffalo, New York

J. DAVID SAMPSON

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following were read and considered by the Court:

1. Claim, verified August 24, 2015, filed September 11, 2015;

2. Answer, verified October 21, 2015, filed October 26, 2015;

3. Notice of Motion to Dismiss, dated May 25, 2021, filed May 27, 2021; and

4. Affidavit in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss of Timothy J. Flynn, sworn to May 25, 2021, with attached exhibits.


1. Wrongful confinement may be negligence-based where the cause of action stems from a wrongful holdover confinement, which generally involves a mistake in performing a ministerial act or function (see Ramirez, supra).

2. There is no representation by either party that Mr. Medina served a notice of intention.