New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PETTY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-036, Claim No. 104645, Motion No. M-67489


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:
John Petty, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney General
By: Frederick H. McGown, III, Assistant Attorney General
Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 2, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This claim was tried at Clinton Correctional Facility, at which time counsel for defendant moved to dismiss the claim on the ground that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute. The parties agreed to hold the trial decision in abeyance until the Court decided defendant's proposed motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. Defense counsel then initiated this motion for summary judgment, which was designated Motion No. M-67489. In the meantime, claimant had been released from prison and the State's motion papers were served on him in care of his Division of Parole Field Office. At approximately the same time, claimant notified the Court of his new address: 119-17 147th St., Jamaica, New York 11436. The return date of the motion was then adjourned so that defendant could serve the motion on claimant at that new address. This service was accomplished, but claimant has chosen not to submit any papers in opposition to the motion.
The claim arises from a January 2001 prison disciplinary proceeding in which claimant was found guilty of assaulting another inmate at Adirondack Correctional Facility. Claimant was sentenced to 12 months in Special Housing Unit and 12 months of the loss of packages, commissary, and phones, and the sentencing officer also recommended loss of 12 months of good time. Because of this sentence, claimant states he also lost an opportunity to appear before a merit board to be considered for release (claim, ¶ 97). The most troubling aspect of the sentence, however, was the loss of phone privileges, which meant that he could not remain in touch with his mother who was quite ill (id, ¶¶82-83, 98-103). In his claim, claimant alleges that the disciplinary hearing was flawed and that the determination of guilt was not supported by any evidence and, in fact, contradicted testimony of the supposed victim.
The causes of action, based on allegations of erroneous conclusions reached at a prison disciplinary hearing, cannot give rise to liability for money damages on the part of the State. The Court of Appeals has stated, unequivocally, that as long as prison officials comply with applicable rules and regulations, the State is absolutely immune from liability for any injury arising from the commencement or adjudication of prison disciplinary proceedings (Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212 [1988]). In addition, claimant has already received judicial review of the outcome of this disciplinary proceeding. He properly commenced an Article 78 proceeding and, when that was unsuccessful, he appealed the Supreme Court decision upholding the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding. The Third Department also affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the determination of guilt (Petty v Selsky, 289 AD2d 859 [2001], lv denied 98 NY2d 602 [2002]).
Defendant's motion is granted, and Claim No. 104645 is dismissed.

June 2, 2004
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read on defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim.
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affirmation of Frederick H. McGown, III, Esq., AAG, with annexed Exhibits

2. Affidavit in Opposition (none received)

Filed papers: Claim; Answer