New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
SCHIMMELPFENNIG v. STATE OF NY COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT, # 2018-040-074, Claim No. 131304, Motion No. M-92297

Synopsis

Court grants Motion to dismiss pro se Claim on basis of judicial immunity and lack of jurisdiction to review determination of Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Case information

UID: 2018-040-074
Claimant(s): HEIDI SCHIMMELPFENNIG
Claimant short name: SCHIMMELPFENNIG
Footnote (claimant name) : Amended to reflect Claimant's name only.
Defendant(s): STATE OF NY COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 131304
Motion number(s): M-92297
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant's attorney: Heidi Schimmelpfennig, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: BARBARA D. UNDERWOOD
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Paul F. Cagino, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: August 9, 2018
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Pre-Answer Motion to dismiss the Claim pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(2) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and CPLR 3211(a)(7) for failure to state a cause of action on the basis of judicial immunity is granted.

This pro se Claim, which was filed in the office of the Clerk of the Court on April 16, 2018, asserts a series of alleged wrongs, including: the failure to protect the rights of a citizen; the failure to "enforce Federal Corollary procedure"; failure to provide a fair trial; Federal and State civil rights violations; abuse of process; and failure to keep corruption out of the Courts (Claim, 2). It is alleged that the Claim accrued on April 3, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at Columbia Town Court in Ilion, New York.

Claimant has submitted papers in opposition to the State's Motion. However, she has not provided any information that would assist the Court in rendering its determination. She has not provided any facts or cited any case law that is pertinent to the issues raised in Defendant's Motion.

"Judicial immunity bars any action against judges of the State for their judicial acts, and the State is not liable for a judicial officer's alleged errors Unless the judicial acts were performed in the absence of subject matter jurisdiction, judicial immunity applies" (Davey v State of New York, Ct Cl, UID No. 2005-029-503 [Ct Cl, Mignano, J., July 14, 2005], affd 31 AD3d 600 [2d Dept 2006]; see Stump v Sparkman, 435 US 349 [1978], reh denied 436 US 951 [1978]; Mullen v State of New York, 122 AD2d 300 [3d Dept 1986], appeal denied 68 NY2d 609 [1986], cert denied 480 US 938 [1987]; La Pier v Deyo, 100 AD2d 710 [3d Dept 1984]). Even allegedly-libelous statements contained in a judge's written decision are absolutely privileged, and cloaked with judicial immunity (Montesano v State of New York, 11 AD3d 436 [2d Dept 2004]). Judicial immunity applies to acts alleged to have been done maliciously and corruptly (Stump v Sparkman, supra; Mertens v State of New York, 73 AD3d 1376 [3d Dept 2010]). Here, Claimant has failed to establish that the actions of the Columbia Town Court judge were performed without any jurisdiction over the subject matter. In addition, the Court notes that a town or village justice, and the employees of a town or village court, are officers and employees of the town or village they serve (Cunningham v Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 125 AD2d 950 [4th Dept 1986]; see Bishopp v Village of Spring Val., 213 AD2d 441 [2d Dept 1995]; Town Law 20(1); Village Law 4-400 [1][c][ii]; Judiciary Law 39(1) and (6); Public Officers Law 18) and not of the State of New York (McQuality v State of New York, UID No. 2013-040-052 [Ct Cl, McCarthy, J., July 31, 2013]). The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction, with power to hear claims against the State of New York and certain public authorities (see NY Const, art VI, 9; Court of Claims Act 9). Thus, this Court does not have jurisdiction over employees of the Town of Columbia.

Furthermore, the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction to review the decision of the Commission on Judicial Conduct on whether or not to pursue charges brought by Claimant against a judge (VIP v State of New York, UID No. 2011-029-001[Ct Cl, Mignano, J., Jan. 5, 2011]; see Matter of Walker v New York State Comm. on Jud. Conduct, 42 Misc3d 1204[A] [Sup Ct New York County, 2013]).

Therefore, the Pre-Answer Motion to dismiss the Claim is granted and the Claim is hereby dismissed.

August 9, 2018

Albany, New York

CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on Defendant's Motion for dismissal:

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support

& Exhibit attached 1

Claimant's Opposition 2

Filed Papers: Claim