New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ARKIM v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-015-593, Claim No. 105333


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):

Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Barry Arkim, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Kevan Acton, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 11, 2004
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

The claim filed on December 11, 2001 arises from events surrounding an incident in which a 30 to 50 person fight occurred on the soccer field in the yard of the Great Meadow Correctional Facility on September 28, 2001. Claimant contends that he was the subject of an inmate misbehavior report which wrongfully accused him of various offenses including violent conduct, creating a disturbance and failure to comply with a direct order. Claimant was found guilty as to all three offenses and was assessed various penalties including being placed under keeplock status and the loss of various privileges. The determination of claimant's guilt was later administratively reversed.

At trial the claimant testified that he was in the yard at Great Meadow Correctional Facility on September 28, 2001 when a fight broke out among a large number of inmates. According to the claimant he was lying on the ground as correction officers responded to the fight and was not involved in fighting at any time. He testified that the misbehavior report prepared by Correction Officer Lindsey regarding the events of that day wrongly and falsely accused him of involvement in the fight resulting in his loss of privileges and being placed on keeplock status between September 28 and October 15, 2001.

On cross-examination the claimant testified that although he was in the yard on the day the misbehavior report was issued he was at no time involved in the fight between other inmates.

Correction Officer Lindsey was called by the defendant and testified that he was employed as a correction officer at Great Meadow Correctional Facility on September 28, 2001 when at approximately 1:45 p.m. a fight broke out on the facility's soccer field. The officer testified that he observed claimant running in the soccer field area but did not recall much else concerning claimant's behavior on that date.

Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 214, the Court of Appeals held that where correctional employees act within their authority and in compliance with governing statutes and regulations their actions in initiating disciplinary proceedings through the filing of misbehavior reports, "constitute discretionary conduct of a quasi-judicial nature for which the State has absolute immunity (see, Tarter v State of New York, 68 NY2d 511; Tango v Tulevech, 61 NY2d 34)."
The claimant here has not established a failure to comply with governing statutes, rules and regulations. Although Officer Lindsey could recall little of the facts surrounding issuance of the report that alone is not surprising given that the events took place during a fight involving 30 to 50 inmates.

The Court finds the acts of Correction Officer Lindsey in issuing the misbehavior report subject to the absolute immunity provided correction officers who initiate and manage disciplinary proceedings against inmates in conformance with applicable rules and regulations.

The claim is dismissed.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

February 11, 2004
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims