Macellaio v. Newington Police Department
The claims commissioner's denial of the plaintiff's fee waiver application did not prevent the application of the doctrine of sovereign immunity; the fact remained that the plaintiff did not receive authorization from the claims commissioner to bring his claims against a court clerk and the claims were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Brooklyn Macellaio filed a two count complaint against Ralph Dagostine, as chief deputy clerk of the New Britain Superior Court, alleging claims for false arrest and negligence. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant destroyed the plaintiff's bond records after he was arrested resulting in various injuries. The trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff appealed claiming that dismissal was improper because he was denied access to the court due to his inability to pay the claims commissioner's filing fee. The plaintiff contended that the claims commissioner denied his fee waiver application despite his indigence. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The plaintiff could not prevail on his claims pursuant to the doctrine of sovereign immunity because he sought to bring an action for monetary damages against the defendant in his official capacity as a state officer without authorization from the claims commissioner. Any judgment against the defendant would subject the state to liability. There were no allegations that the action was brought against the defendant in his individual capacity or any factual allegations that would support that assertion. The claims commissioner's denial of the fee waiver application did not prevent the application of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The complaint did not fall within any recognized exception to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The trial court properly rendered judgment dismissing the action.