New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PATTERSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-031-028, Claim No. 102843, Motion Nos. M-64586, M-64772


Claimant's confinement pending resolution of his disciplinary hearing was not improper. Claimant's motion for Summary Judgment denied. Defendant's motion for Summary Judgement granted.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
M-64586, M-64772
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Attorney General of the State of New York
BY: WILLIAM D. LONERGAN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 30, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 8, were read on motions by Claimant and Defendant for summary judgment:
  1. Notice of Motion (M-64586), filed January 16, 2002;
  2. Statement of Bernard Patterson, dated to January 10, 2002, with attached exhibits;
  3. Defendant's Notice of Motion (M-64772), filed February 22, 2002;
  4. Unsworn, undated, statement of William D. Lonergan, Esq., filed February 22, 2002, with attached exhibits;
  5. Claimant's Reply Affidavit, sworn to March 4, 2002, with attached exhibits;
  6. Reply Affidavit of William D. Lonergan, Esq., dated March 7, 2002;
  7. Claimant's "Affidavit in Opposition," sworn to April 26, 2002;
  8. Filed documents: Claim and Answer.
Upon the foregoing papers, Defendant's motion is granted and Claimant's motion is denied. Claimant and Defendant have both moved for summary judgment. In his underlying claim filed on August 2, 2000, Bernard Patterson alleges that, while an inmate at Wende Correctional Facility, he was improperly confined to keeplock pending the resolution of a disciplinary hearing. Claimant asserts that the hearing violated the time requirements of

7 NYCRR § 251-5.1.

Specifically, on June 9, 2000, Claimant was given an inmate misbehavior report after an incident in which he threw a metal cabinet into a window. Claimant was confined to his cell pending his Tier III disciplinary hearing, which was commenced on June 15, 2000. The hearing was not completed on that date, but was adjourned to June 23, 2000. The hearing resumed on June 23, 2000 but again was not completed. At that time, the hearing officer requested an extension of time to complete the hearing from the office of the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services in Albany. An extension was granted to June 28, 2000. On June 28, 2000, when one of Claimant's requested witnesses was unavailable, the hearing officer requested and received another extension of time to complete the hearing on or before June 30, 2000. The hearing resumed on June 29, 2000, and culminated on that date with Claimant being found guilty.

In any application for summary judgment, the moving party bears the heavy burden of establishing that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to demonstrate the absence of any material issues of fact (Andre v Pomeroy, 35 NY2d 361; Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851, 853). Generally, the actions of prison personnel involving inmate disciplinary matters are quasi-judicial and, unless they exceed the scope of their authority or violate applicable rules, are afforded absolute immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212; Davis v State of New York, 262 AD2d 887, lv denied 93 NY2d 819).

When an inmate is confined during his disciplinary hearing, 7 NYCRR §251-5.1(b) provides in relevant part that such hearing "must be completed within 14 days following the writing of the misbehavior report unless otherwise authorized by the commissioner or his designee." Defendant asserts that the hearing was timely and complied with the requirements of 7 NYCRR §251-5.1. Claimant alleges that, regardless of the fact that the commissioner's office granted the extensions on June 23 and June 28, the hearing violated the applicable regulations because the deadline for completing the hearing had already passed when the first extension was granted.

There is no dispute as to the dates on which the hearing was conducted. The problem is essentially that Claimant has miscalculated the number of days between his initial confinement on June 9, 2000 and the initial adjourned date of June 23, 2000. Claimant incorrectly asserts that the hearing was not concluded in a timely manner, and that the first adjourned date, June 23, 2000, was outside of the initial 14 day period set forth in 7 NYCRR §251-5.1(b). However, June 23, 2000, was day 14, not day 15 as alleged by Claimant. For this reason, no extension from the commissioner's office was necessary prior to June 23, 2000.

On June 23, 2000, and on June 28, 2000, the hearing officer properly sought permission from the commissioner's office to extend the hearing and each extension request was granted. Contrary to Claimant's assertions, at no time during the process did Defendant's time within which to conclude the hearing or obtain an extension expire. I find that the hearing was both commenced and concluded in a timely manner. As the requirements of 7 NYCRR §251-5.1 were met, the immunities described in Arteaga protect the hearing process, and the State may not be held liable in damages for the confinement of Claimant during the pendency of his disciplinary hearing.

Based upon the foregoing it is:

ORDERED, that Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted and the claim is dismissed and Claimant's motion for summary judgment is denied.

July 30, 2002
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims