Following Trial, Claim dismissed as Claimant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by CCA § 10(9).
|Claimant short name:||STALLONE|
|Footnote (claimant name) :|
|Defendant(s):||THE STATE OF NEW YORK|
|Footnote (defendant name) :|
|Judge:||CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY|
|Claimant's attorney:||Jerome Stallone, Pro Se|
|Defendant's attorney:||LETITIA JAMES
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Christina Calabrese, Esq., AAG
|Third-party defendant's attorney:|
|Signature date:||October 25, 2019|
|See also (multicaptioned case)|
The trial of this pro se Claim was held by video conference on August 13, 2019, with the parties at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, and the Judge at the Court of Claims in Albany, New York.
At trial, the Court had marked as Court Exhibits 1, 2, and 3, respectively, Claimant's filed Claim, the State's Answer, and Claimant's Reply Brief. Claimant submitted into evidence five documents (Exs. 1 through 5). The State submitted into evidence two documents (Exs. A and B). Claimant was the only person to testify at trial.
This pro se Claim, which was filed in the office of the Clerk of the Court on January 17, 2012, alleges that, on November 23, 2011, at Franklin Correctional Facility, certain items of Claimant's personal property were lost or stolen during a Special Housing unit pack-up by the Dormitory Correction Officer (Court Ex. 1).
The Court must dismiss this bailment claim because Claimant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies pursuant to CCA § 10(9) as of the date the Claim was filed. CCA § 10(9) provides that:
A claim of any inmate in the custody of the department of corrections and community supervision for recovery of damages for injury to or loss of personal property may not be filed unless and until the inmate has exhausted the personal property claims administrative remedy, established for inmates by the department. Such claim must be filed and served within one hundred twenty days after the date on which the inmate has exhausted such remedy.
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (hereinafter, "DOCCS") has established a two-tier system for handling personal property claims consisting of an initial review and an appeal (7 NYCRR § 1700.3). Each of these "separate and distinct steps must be completed at the time a claim is filed and served in order for a claimant to be deemed to have exhausted his [or her] administrative remedies pursuant to CCA [§] 10 (9)" (Tafari v State of New York, UID No. 2002-019-591 [Ct Cl, Lebous, J., Dec. 9, 2002];McLean v State of New York, UID No. 2016-040-064 [Ct Cl, McCarthy, J., Sept. 19, 2016]; see Griffin v State of New York, UID No. 2007-015-232 [Ct Cl, Collins, J., Aug. 23, 2007]). The State asserts in its Answer, as its Third Defense, that Claimant filed and served this Claim before he exhausted those administrative remedies (Court Ex. 2).
Here, the evidence establishes that Claimant signed his administrative claim on November 30, 2011 and it was received on December 2, 2011 (Ex. 1, p. 2). The administrative claim was disapproved on December 23, 2011 (id., p. 1). As stated above, Claimant filed his Claim in the office of the Clerk of the Court on January 17, 2012. While Claimant's Exhibit 1, page 1, establishes he did appeal the administrative determination of December 23, 2011, Claimant did not establish when he submitted the appeal. However, the appeal was denied on March 6, 2012, approximately seven weeks after Claimant filed his Claim with the Court.
On the record before the Court, the only one conclusion that can be reached is that, as of the date Claimant filed this Claim, January 17, 2012, he had not exhausted his administrative remedies and, as such, this Claim is premature pursuant to CCA § 10(9) (see Griffin v State of New York, supra; Tafari v State of New York, supra).
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss the Claim, made at the conclusion of the trial, upon which the Court reserved decision, is now granted, and the Claim is dismissed. All other motions are denied as moot. All objections upon which the Court reserved determination during trial are now overruled.
The Chief Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.
October 25, 2019
Albany, New York
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims