New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
TELESFORD v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2021-053-529, Claim No. 133171, Motion No. M-96477

Synopsis

The State's motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim on jurisdictional grounds is granted. Claimant, who alleged that he was wrongfully confined in a correctional facility alleged that he was deprived of due process rights in violation of Articles 1 and 5 of the NYS Constitution. The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and claimant has alternative forums in which to seek enforcement of his state constitutional rights in Supreme Court or in federal court to seek redress under the U.S. Constitution.

Case information

UID: 2021-053-529
Claimant(s): MARCUS TELESFORD
Claimant short name: TELESFORD
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 133171
Motion number(s): M-96477
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: J. DAVID SAMPSON
Claimant's attorney: MARCUS TELESFORD, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: HON. LETITIA JAMES
New York State Attorney General
BY: Darren Longo, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: June 29, 2021
City: Buffalo
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant Marcus Telesford alleges in claim no. 133171 that he was wrongfully confined in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) or keeplock for a total of sixty days between December 23, 2018 and February 21, 2019 while incarcerated at the Wende Correctional Facility (Wende). The claimant alleges that the Tier III hearing held at Wende was conducted in a manner that deprived him of his due process rights in violation of Articles 1 and 5 of the New York State Constitution. The claim alleges that a notice of intention to file a claim was served on the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York (Attorney General) by certified mail return receipt requested on March 18, 2019. The claim was then filed with the Clerk of the Court of Claims on June 3, 2019. The defendant State of New York filed an answer on July 8, 2019.

The defendant now moves by motion no. M-96477 for summary judgment dismissing the claim on jurisdictional grounds, contending that the claim is based solely upon violations of the New York State Constitution without alleging any violation of any non-constitutional tort. The claimant did not file any affidavit in opposition to this motion.

Claims alleging wrongful confinement in a correctional facility generally sound in intentional tort (Bennett v Division of Parole, UID No. 2020-038-590 [Ct Cl, DeBow, J., Dec. 23, 2020]). The Court of Claims is a court of limited jurisdiction and does not have jurisdiction over claims based on an alleged deprivation of a state constitutional claim where the alleged wrongs could have been addressed in another forum (Williams v State of New York, 137 AD3d 1579 [4th Dept 2016]). As such, the Court of Claims only has jurisdiction over claims alleging a violation of state constitutional rights when the claimant does not have an adequate remedy in another forum (Martinez v City of Schenectady, 97 NY2d 78, 83-84 [2001]; Blake v State of New York, 145 AD3d 1336, 1337 [3d Dept 2016]). The claimant's alternative in the present action was to seek enforcement of his state constitutional rights and commence an Article 78 special proceeding in New York State Supreme Court or file a federal civil rights lawsuit in federal court seeking redress for the deprivation of his due process rights under the U.S. Constitution (see Alsaifullah v State of New York, 166 AD3d 1426, 1426 [3d Dept 2018]). Accordingly, it is neither necessary nor appropriate to recognize claimant's constitutional claim as the allegations in this claim could have been addressed in another forum. Based on the foregoing, defendant's motion no. M-96477 is granted and claim no. 133171 is dismissed.

June 29, 2021

Buffalo, New York

J. DAVID SAMPSON

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following were read and considered by the Court:

1. Notice of motion and affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Darren Longo, Esq., dated February 8, 2021 with annexed Exhibits A-B.