New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

APPLEGATE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-011-109, Claim No. 103537


Synopsis


Claimant's eight day confinement was not privileged and no justification has been offered for it. As a result, defendant is liable for the damages suffered by claimant as a result and claimant is awarded judgment. Claim based upon loss of personal property is dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2002-011-109
Claimant(s):
BRADFORD APPLEGATE, 89 T 2501
Claimant short name:
APPLEGATE
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103537
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS J. McNAMARA
Claimant's attorney:
Bradford Applegate, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Dennis M. Acton, Esq.,Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 8, 2002
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
The claim is based on allegations that on two occasions claimant was confined to the Special Housing Unit at Upstate Correctional Facility for periods of time in excess of the penalty imposed. Claimant also alleges the loss of certain items of personal property.

On May 8, 1999 and May 13, 1999 inmate misbehavior reports were issued to claimant at Green Haven Correctional Facility. A hearing on the charges resulting from the May 13, 1999 incident was held on May 20, 1999 and lead to a penalty of 180 days confinement to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and loss of other privileges. The charges stemming from the incident of May 8, 1999 were disposed of in a separate hearing on May 22, 1999 and resulted in a penalty of 40 days keeplock confinement and 64 days loss of privileges. The SHU confinement penalty was to be served from May 13, 1999 to November 9, 1999. The keeplock confinement was to run from November 9, 1999 to December 19, 1999.

In July 1999 claimant was transferred from Green Haven to Upstate Correctional Facility to serve his disciplinary confinement. On December 20, 1999 he was released from confinement in the SHU and was transferred from Upstate to Elmira Correctional Facility.

On March 27, 2000 two inmate misbehavior reports were again issued to claimant. The first hearing resulted in a penalty of 30 days keeplock confinement and loss of privileges. The second hearing brought a penalty of 150 days confinement to the Special Housing Unit. A printout of claimant's inmate disciplinary history shows that the SHU confinement was to be served from March 27, 2000 to August 24, 2000 and the keeplock confinement from August 24, 2000 to September 23, 2000. On July 5, 2000 a third disciplinary hearing resulted in a penalty of 16 days keeplock confinement extending that time to October 9, 2000. On October 17, 2000 claimant, who had been transferred to Upstate in April 2000, was moved from SHU at Upstate to Attica.

Claimant contends that he is entitled to damages for the time he spent in SHU at Upstate when he should have been on the less restrictive keeplock status (i.e. continuous confinement to cell or room without necessary loss of other privileges, see, 7 NYCRR §§253.7, 254.7; cf. Special Housing Unit Admissions, 7 NYCRR §302.2).

In carrying out their duties relating to security and discipline, the actions of correction employees are quasi-judicial in nature and are cloaked with absolute immunity so long as the actions are not taken beyond their authority or in violation of the governing rules and regulations (
Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 220). Under 7 NYCRR §301.6(a) an inmate at Upstate Correctional Facility may be housed in a special housing unit for confinement pursuant to a disposition of a disciplinary (Tier II) or superintendent's (Tier III) hearing. Inmates assigned to keeplock status in a Special Housing Unit pursuant to this section are subject to the more restrictive confinement conditions provided for in 7 NYCRR §302.2 (7 NYCRR §301.6[c-h]). Therefore, as claimant's confinements at Upstate during the times complained of were the result of Tier II and III hearings, defendant was not in violation of the regulations when it kept him in the Special Housing Unit during the periods of time he was on keeplock status. As such, those actions are privileged and the claims founded upon them must be dismissed.
The only time during which claimant was confined to the Special Housing Unit when he was not serving either SHU or keeplock time was the eight day period from October 9, 2000 to October 17, 2000. Though logistical difficulties in transferring an inmate from one facility to another may in certain circumstances provide justification for failing to restore an inmate's privileges when a disciplinary detention has been completed (
Modeste v State of New York, Claim No. 93290, November 17, 1999, Patti, J.), defendant has not offered proof that such circumstances were the reason for failing to transfer claimant out of the Special Housing Unit on October 9, 2000. As the eight day confinement was not privileged and no justification has been offered for it, defendant is liable for the damages suffered by claimant as a result. Accordingly, claimant is awarded $40.00.
Claimant also maintains that certain items of his personal property were lost by defendant. However, he failed to offer adequate proof of damages with respect to the alleged loss. Accordingly, the claim based upon loss of personal property is dismissed.

ORDERED that to the extent Claimant has paid a filing fee, it may be recovered pursuant to Court of Claims Act section 11-a(2), and it is
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


July 8, 2002
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. THOMAS J. MCNAMARA
Judge of the Court of Claims