Notice of Motion (M-69931), Affidavit in Support 4,5
In his claim, claimant seeks damages for malicious prosecution, false
imprisonment, and wrongful confinement, arising out of his placement in the
special housing unit (SHU) at Mid-State Correctional Facility. He also seeks
damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, mental and
emotional cruelty, and violation of his State constitutional rights based upon
the same actions taken by facility personnel in placing him in SHU. All of
these contentions are based upon claimant's allegations that he was "set up" by
other inmates and/or correction officers during his incarceration at Mid-State
There is no dispute that on September 16, 2004 during a search of his cubicle,
an altered can lid was found inside claimant's locked locker. A misbehavior
report was then issued on September 16, 2004, formally charging claimant
with possession of a weapon and possession of an altered item. Claimant was
found guilty of both violations at a disciplinary hearing, and was required to
serve six months in SHU. Claimant pursued the administrative review process,
and after a review of the superintendent's hearing, the decision was affirmed on
November 15, 2004 (see Defendant's Exhibit C).
As set forth at the outset herein, claimant alleges in his claim that he was
"set up", that the "weapon" was not his, and that it must have been "planted" in
his locker. Claimant alleges that he was therefore maliciously prosecuted for
the alleged violations, and wrongfully confined following the administrative
hearing. He also contends that various State constitutional rights were
violated, in that correction officers and officials failed to properly
investigate his contention that he was "set up".
Defendant now moves to dismiss this claim, arguing that the claim has failed to
set forth a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by this Court.
In a motion to dismiss a claim, the defendant is held to have conceded the
truth of every fact alleged by the claimant. Determination of the motion,
therefore, does not rest upon resolution of the ultimate facts, but rather on
whether the facts asserted adequately set forth a viable cause of action
(Stukuls v State of New York, 42 NY2d 272).
In this matter, defendant asserts that the claim fails to state a cause of
action because the defendant is entitled to absolute immunity for discretionary
decisions of this nature, relying upon Arteaga v State of New York, 72
NY2d 212. As set forth by the Court of Appeals in Arteaga, the actions
of prison personnel in inmate disciplinary matters are considered quasi-judicial
and are therefore afforded absolute immunity to the decisions made therein,
unless the officials exceed the scope of their authority, or violate applicable
In this particular matter, claimant does not allege that the defendant violated
any of its own rules and regulations in conducting the hearing which resulted in
claimant's confinement to SHU, or that the defendant exceeded the scope of its
authority in conducting such proceeding. Rather, this claim is based upon
allegations that claimant was "set up" at the time the misbehavior report was
initially issued. This is an issue that should have been raised by claimant,
and presumably was raised, at his disciplinary proceeding. However, this
contention provides no legal basis for this Court to in effect overturn the
determination made by the hearing officer, which must be afforded absolute
As a result, claimant's claim for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment,
and wrongful confinement, as well as his other causes of action arising from the
same set of circumstances, must be dismissed pursuant to Arteaga.
Based upon the determination made herein to dismiss the claim, claimant's
motion seeking poor person relief has been rendered moot.
Accordingly, based upon the foregoing, it is
ORDERED, that Motion No. M-70004 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED, that Motion No. M-69931 is hereby DENIED as moot; and it is
ORDERED, that Claim No. 110552 is hereby DISMISSED.