New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LAMAGE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-031-010, Claim No. 107654, Motion No. M-67455


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:
Defendant's attorney:
New York State Attorney General
BY: TIMOTHY P. MULVEY, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 21, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 4, were read on motion by Claimant for summary judgment:
  1. Notice of Motion, filed September 29, 2003;
2) Claimant's Affidavit, sworn to September 22, 2003, with attached exhibits;
  1. Affidavit of Michael Murray, sworn to October 7, 2003, with attached exhibit;
4) Filed Documents: Claim and Answer.

Upon the foregoing papers, Claimant's motion is denied and summary judgment is granted in Defendant's favor, sua sponte. Claimant brings this motion for summary judgment. In his underlying claim filed on April 24, 2003, Claimant alleges that, while an inmate at Auburn Correctional Facility ("Auburn"), he was improperly confined to keeplock for eight days from January 14, 2003 at 9:00 a.m. to January 21, 2003 at 12:30 p.m. Claimant alleges that he was never given an inmate misbehavior report or a hearing, but was simply released from keeplock status after what he alleges was eight days.

Defendant, through the affidavit of Correction Sergeant Michael Murray, explains that Claimant was confined upon his transfer to Auburn from Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport") because the Department of Correctional Services' electronic data system indicated that Claimant had received a misbehavior report prior to leaving Southport. Claimant was, therefore, confined pending the receipt at Auburn of the documentation of this misbehavior report and a subsequent disciplinary hearing. On January 21, 2003, after Southport failed to forward the necessary documentation, Claimant was released. Defendant contends that its actions complied with applicable rules and regulations relating to inmate discipline and that Defendant is, therefore, immune from liability in this matter. I note that Defendant's answer asserts an affirmative defense based upon this alleged immunity.

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). In any application for summary judgment, the moving party bears a heavy burden in 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). Therefore, to be successful on this motion, Claimant must demonstrate, as a matter of law, that Defendant's decision to confine him from January 14, 2003 to January 21, 2003, was outside the Defendant's authority or in violation of one of the governing rules or regulations.

I find that Defendant's placement of Claimant in keeplock status pending receipt of the documentation relating to the outstanding inmate misbehavior report to have been reasonable and in compliance with 7 NYCRR § 251-1.6(a), which specifically permits confinement of an inmate pending his disciplinary hearing. Moreover, 7 NYCRR § 251-5.1 (a) provides that:
Where an inmate is confined pending a disciplinary hearing or superintendent's hearing, the hearing must be commenced as soon as is reasonably practicable following the inmate's initial confinement pending said disciplinary hearing or superintendent's hearing, but, in no event may it be commenced beyond seven days of said confinement without authorization of the commissioner or his designee.
Sergeant Murray's uncontroverted affidavit demonstrates that Claimant was being held for legitimate purposes and that he was released on January 21, 2003, after Southport had failed to forward the appropriate documentation. Although Claimant alleges that he was confined for eight days, the claim itself clearly indicates that Claimant was released upon the expiration of the seventh day.

I find that Claimant's confinement between January 14, 2003 and January 21, 2003 was proper and in accord with the regulations that govern such confinement. As the requirements of 7 NYCRR § 251-5.1(a) were met, the immunities described in Arteaga protect the Defendant's decision to confine Claimant, and the State may not be held liable in damages. Although Defendant has not moved for summary judgment, I find that summary judgment in Defendant's favor is appropriate in this instance. CPLR 3212(b) provides that, "[i]f it shall appear that any party other than the moving party is entitled to a summary judgment, the court may grant such judgment without the necessity of a cross-motion" (cf. Ostrowski v State of New York, 186 Misc 2d 890; Rivera v State of New York, Ct Cl, September 15, 2003 [Motion No. M-66182], Patti, J., UID #2003-013-015).

Based upon the foregoing it is:

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


January 21, 2004
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims