Jalah Sealey, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim number 97855 that he was
wrongfully confined at Sing Sing Correctional Facility (hereafter Sing Sing) for
a period of 20 days. The trial of the matter was held at Sing Sing on August 7,
The Claimant relied upon the factual allegations and attachments contained in
his claim, as well as his own testimony at trial. He testified that he had been
transported to Sing Sing on November 27, 1997 from Adirondack Correctional
Facility (hereafter Adirondack), "a medium security facility,"
, 7 NYCRR § 100.6], for the purpose of a deposition in an
unrelated case. He was housed in HBC 4 company, cell 212 in the Special Housing
Unit (hereafter SHU). He asserted he had neither sought protective custody,
nor was he under any disciplinary punishment.
After his deposition was taken on December 2, 1997, Claimant remained at Sing
Sing in the same cell until December 17, 1997. Claimant testified he was let
out of his cell only for the deposition, and to take a shower. Although he was
required to have 1 hour of daily exercise per departmental regulations, he was
"denied rec." [
, 7 NYCRR § 304.3].
His verbal complaints were met with the answer that he was on "hold over"
status, but no one did anything about getting him out. He wrote to the
Magistrate who had had him transported there for the deposition, and to the head
clerk (in Sing Sing) on December 15, 1997. The Clerk wrote back saying he would
be returning to Adirondack "this week". [Claim No. 97855, Attachment, Letter
from Claimant to head clerk with response dated December 15, 1997]. He was
returned to Adirondack on December 17, 1997.
Varudhese George, a Correction Sergeant at Sing Sing familiar with policies and
procedures, also testified. In 1997 he had been working the "medium security
part of the prison called Tappan." Although he did not know the Claimant, he
was able to testify generally about procedures for inmates entering the prison
for the purpose of a deposition.
Sergeant George testified that an inmate coming in from another facility as a
"detention admission" - the status this Claimant would have - would generally be
placed in HB 5 building: a part of Tappan. If no space were available, the
facility would be within its rights to place the inmate in "any part of the
prison, including SHU, according to Directive 4933." No copy of the directive
referred to was furnished to the court. Initially, any inmate first coming in
to Sing Sing would be "placed on keeplock status, anywhere in the jail," for a
minimum period of 3 days, while the authorities did a security check to
ascertain whether he had, for example, any enemies in the facility. While
placed in that status, the inmate is essentially not allowed out of his cell.
After that, he would be entitled to a minimum of 1 hour of recreation while in
The quasi-judicial acts of correction employees taken in furtherance of
authorized disciplinary measures are entitled to absolute immunity.
Arteaga v State of New York
, 72 NY2d 212, 219-220 (1988). Based upon
Claimant's credible - and uncontradicted - testimony, it would appear that the
correction officers took essentially no action throughout the period of his
incarceration at Sing Sing. There were no disciplinary proceedings pending and,
on this record, it is impossible to ascertain if defendant's employees acted
within the scope of their discretionary functions in keeping this claimant in
SHU without any hearing or even any articulable rationale. The witness called by
the state did not know the particulars of this Claimant's situation, and by his
testimony buttressed the Claimant's position that Claimant was deprived of the
recreation required for the period asserted. This is inconsistent with
defendant's own rules and regulations. Arteaga,
.,Gittens v State of New York
, 132 Misc.2d 399 (N.Y.
Ct. Claims 1986); c.f.
: Holloway v State of New York
___AD2d___ , 728 NYS2d 567 (3d Dept. 2001).
To establish a
case of wrongful confinement, a "species" of the tort of
false imprisonment, [Gittens
., at 407], a claimant
must show "...(1) the defendant intended to confine him, (2) the...[claimant]
was conscious of the confinement, (3) the...[claimant] did not consent to the
confinement and (4) the confinement was not otherwise privileged...."
Broughton v State of New York
, 37 NY2d 451,456 (1975). In this case the
claimant has established, without contradiction, all four
Defendant's regulations require that inmates be permitted exercise outside of
their cells for at least 1 hour per day. 7 NYCRR 304.3. This Claimant was
denied that opportunity for his entire 20 day stay at Sing Sing. According to
Sergeant George's testimony, the facility's policies require that an inmate
remain in keeplock status for the first 3 days of his stay. Accordingly, the
Claimant was deprived of the opportunity for recreation for a period 17 days.
He is hereby awarded a total of $85.00 ($5.00 per day) for this deprivation.
Graham v State of New York
, Claim No. 91653 (unreported decision, filed
November 15, 1999, Patti, J.).
Defendant's motion to dismiss, reserved on at the time of trial, is hereby
Let Judgment be entered accordingly.