New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

EDWARDS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-031-080, Claim No. 103726, Motion No. M-66660


Synopsis


Claimant's administrative segregation hearing was conducted in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Claimant's confinement following such hearing was, therefore, not improper. Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted.

Case Information

UID:
2003-031-080
Claimant(s):
MICHAEL EDWARDS
Claimant short name:
EDWARDS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103726
Motion number(s):
M-66660
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
MICHAEL EDWARDS, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: EDWARD F. MC ARDLEAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 31, 2003
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Defendant for summary judgment:
1) Notice of Motion, filed April 4, 2003;
2) Affirmation of Edward F. McArdle, Esq., dated April 2, 2003, with attached exhibits;
3) Affidavit of Lawrence M. Cheney, sworn to March 24, 2003;
  1. Filed Papers: Claim and Answer.
Upon the foregoing papers, Defendant's motion is granted. This is Defendant's motion for summary judgment. In his claim filed on January 25, 2001, Claimant Michael Edwards, an inmate at Auburn Correctional Facility at the time, alleges that he was illegally confined to the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") between August 29, 2000, and November 14, 2000. Claimant alleges that the hearing was commenced on the fifteenth day after his confinement in violation of 7 NYCRR §301.4.

Following the hearing, Claimant appealed the determination administratively, and the determination was ultimately reversed by Donald Selsky, the director of the Inmate Disciplinary Program for the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") on November 9, 2000. Defendant's motion is based upon its assertion that, even though the administrative determination was reversed, the process was proper and all relevant rules and regulations relating to such hearings were followed. Defendant argues that, because the rules and regulations were followed, it enjoys immunity from actions for monetary damages such as this. Defendant also argues that Claimant's confinement after November 9, 2000, was of short duration and was not an unreasonable amount of time within which to return Claimant to general population.

The actions of prison personnel involving inmate disciplinary matters are generally 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). The fact that the disposition from a disciplinary hearing is later reversed, either administratively, or in an Article 78 proceeding, does not necessarily remove the matter from the blanket of immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, supra; Bonacorsa v State of New York, Ct Cl, May 31, 1994 [Claim No. 86522], Bell, J.).

Claimant has not responded to Defendant's motion. However, Claimant does assert in his claim that the hearing was commenced on the fifteenth day after his confinement in violation of the regulations governing such hearings. 7 NYCRR § 301.4(b) provides that "[a]dministrative segregation admission results from a determination by the facility that the inmates' presence in general population would pose a threat to the safety and security of the facility." Section 301.4(a) provides that a hearing "shall be conducted within 14 days of an inmate's admission to administrative segregation."

Defendant's papers do not directly address this issue. However, Defendant's submissions (as well as the allegation in the claim) demonstrate that Claimant was confined beginning on August 29, 2000 and the hearing was commenced on September 12, 2000. This was the fourteenth day after Claimant's confinement and was, therefore, timely. Claimant has not identified any other rule or regulation allegedly violated by Defendant in conducting the hearing, nor any way in which Defendant otherwise acted outside the sphere of privileged actions (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, supra; Holloway v State of New York, 285 AD2d 765; cf. Gittens v State of New York, 132 Misc 2d 399). Accordingly, their determinations are entitled to immunity.

Based upon the foregoing it is:

ORDERED, that Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted. The Clerk is directed to close the file.

October 31, 2003
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims