New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GONCALVES v. New York, #2000-004-511, Claim No. 100848, Motion Nos. M-61014, CM-61101


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2000-004-511
Claimant(s):
JOSEPH SANTOS GONCALVES
Claimant short name:
GONCALVES
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100848
Motion number(s):
M-61014
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-61101
Judge:
JEROME F. HANIFIN
Claimant's attorney:
JOSEPH SANTOS GONCALVES, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
ATTORNEY-GENERAL
BY: Earl F. Gialanella, Assistant Attorney-General of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 10, 2000
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant moves to compel discovery, while the State cross-moves for summary


judgment.


The following papers were considered by the Court:

Claim filed August 9, 1999 1

Verified Answer, filed September 9, 1999 2

Notice of Motion No. M-61014 filed January 4, 2000 3

"Affirmation" of Joseph Santo's Goncalves Jr., in support of motion,
dated December 26, 1999 4

"Affirmation" of Good Faith, dated December 26, 1999 5

Notice of Cross-Motion, No. CM-61101, filed January 25, 2000 6

Affirmation of Earl F. Gialanella, AAG, in opposition to the motion,
and in support of cross-motion, dated January 21, 2000,
with attached exhibits 7

"Affirmation" of Joseph Santo's Goncalves Jr., in opposition
to cross-motion, dated February 20, 2000 filed February 24, 2000,
with attached exhibits 8

Reply Affirmation of Earl F. Gialanella, AAG, in support
of cross-motion, dated February 28, 2000, filed March 1, 2000 9

Rebuttal "Affirmation" of Joseph Santo's Goncalves Jr.,
dated March 12, 2000, filed March 15, 2000, with attached exhibits 10


The Claimant is an inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility. The gravamen of the claim is the alleged wrongful confinement of the Claimant in the Special Housing Unit of the facility as a result of the "Tort, [sic] negligence of the state for allowing the Dept. of Correctional Services and its emploies [sic] knowingly writing false charges and finding claimant herein guilty with out [sic] ‘Due Process.'"(Paper No. 1, ¶ 2).


State's counsel affirms in pertinent part:


2. The claimant's motion is seeking a court order compelling the defendant to fully comply with his discovery demands dated September 17, 1999....The claimant takes issue with the defendant's responses that object to some of the claimant's demands as being over broad and not relevant.

3. This affirmation is submitted in opposition to the claimant's motion, and in support of a cross-motion to dismiss the claim pursuant to CPLR § 3212 as there are no material issues of fact requiring a trial on the action, and the defendant is entitled to summary judgement as a matter of law.

***

6. Additionally, the claim must be dismissed in that the defendant is immune from liability for the conduct alleged....The claimant alleges he was unlawfully confined for a period of 90 days after he was found guilty of various disciplinary charges following a hearing at the Elmira Correctional Facility on December 22, 1998. After the hearing the claimant received 90 days in the Special Housing Unit, loss of privileges for 90 days, and 3 months loss of good time. See paragraph 2 in the claim; Exhibit F - Inmate Misbehavior Report, Hearing Record Sheet, and Hearing Disposition Rendered form for the December 22, 1998 hearing. The claimant alleges the charge should have been dismissed because the corrections officer who charged him "knowingly wrote a false report". See paragraph 3(a) of the claim. He administratively appealed the adverse determination to Donald Selsky, the Director of Special Housing, who affirmed the decision (see paragraph 5 in the claim). Nowhere in the claim is it alleged the determination has been reversed for any procedural irregularity or a violation of the Departments' regulations governing such hearings.

(Paper No. 7)


There is no indication from a review of both Claimant's and State's counsel's submissions that the hearings and administrative appeals were not done in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Corrections. Nor does it appear that Claimant has pursued an administrative appeal successfully, or failing success there, a CPLR Article 78 Proceeding seeking to reverse any adverse administrative result. As it appears that the correction employees followed the applicable rules and regulations, they acted in a quasi-judicial capacity and they are afforded absolute immunity even if the decisions made with regard to Claimant were tainted by improper motives or malice (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212). For this reason, summary judgment for the State is required.


Claimant's motion for discovery must be denied as moot.


In light of the foregoing, it is


ORDERED that the State's Cross-Motion No. CM-61101 is GRANTED, and Claim No. 100848 is dismissed. It is further ORDERED that Motion No. M-61014 is DENIED as moot.



May 10, 2000
Binghamton, New York

HON. JEROME F. HANIFIN
Judge of the Court of Claims