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New York Prisoner's Property Claim Accrues On Date Administrative Exhaustion Denied

New York state prisoner Alfred Blanche filed a claim against the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) in the New York Court of Claims for loss of property pursuant to the Court of Claims Act. The Court granted the DOCS' motion to dismiss based on the claim being filed five days outside the 120 day statute of limitations but gave permission for Blanche to file a late claim. The dismissal was reversed on appeal because the date the prisoner receives the denial of his administrative remedies, not the date of the denial, is the accrual date for court of claims purposes.

Blanch had timely filed for administrative review of his claim which was denied on March 14, 2003. He was not served the denial until March 25, 2003. He filed his claim on July 17, 2003, 125 days after the decision but 113 days after he received the denial. The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the Court of Claims act § 10(9) is analogous to CPLR 217(1) whose statute of limitations time begins to run when a prisoner is "aggrieved" by the administrative determination. A prisoner is not aggrieved until receipt of a notice of a determination under the current interpretation of that rule. The Court applied the same interpretation to Court of Claims petitions and also held the Court of Claims is without discretion to grant a late filing, thus claims must be filed within 120 days of receipt of the DOCS administrative review denial. See: Blanche v. State, 794 N.Y.S.2d 235 (A.D. 4 Dept. 2005).

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Related legal case

Blanche v. State