6) Filed Documents: Claim and Verified Answer. Defendant has moved for summary
judgment and dismissal of the claim in this matter.
In his underlying claim, Claimant, Anthony Gill, alleges that he was illegally
confined to his cell at Five Points Correctional Facility (“Five
Points”) for two separate periods of approximately 24 hours each. The
basis of each confinement was Claimant’s refusal to follow a direct order
to shovel snow.
From the record submitted, it appears that Claimant, who was employed at Five
Points as a porter in the main recreational yard, first refused to shovel snow
in January of 2004. He was given a misbehavior report and, after a disciplinary
hearing, he was given 30 days of keeplock. This sentence was suspended,
however, apparently to give Claimant another chance to properly perform his
duties as a porter. On February 4, 2004 at approximately 9:00 a.m., Claimant
was again directed to shovel snow in the main yard and he again refused.
Claimant was directed to return to his cell. Although no misbehavior report was
issued, Claimant was confined to his cell until approximately 11:00 a.m. the
next day, February 5, 2004. This is the first period for which Claimant seeks
to recover damages for illegal confinement.
The day after his release, February 6, 2004, Claimant was again directed to
shovel snow as part of his duties. He again refused, and this time swore at the
correction officer who had directed him to shovel and told the officer that he
was medically restricted from performing such types of labor. Claimant was
given a misbehavior report and once again confined to his cell. At the
resulting disciplinary hearing, Claimant was found guilty of making false
statements (relating to his alleged medical excuse) and disobeying a direct
Claimant was sentenced to keeplock for 30 days, and apparently does not dispute
the validity of that sentence. He alleges, however, that his 30 days of
keeplock expired on March 7, 2004 and that he was not released until March 8,
2004. He therefore asserts that he was illegally confined for 24 hours between
March 7 and March 8, 2004.
It is well settled that 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 support of its motion for summary judgment, Defendant has accurately pointed
out that Claimant’s initial 24-hour confinement between February 4 and 5,
2004 was in accordance with the rules and regulations governing such conduct.
Specifically, 7 NYCRR § 251-1.6(c) permits the confinement of an inmate
“who refuses to participate in an assigned activity.” 7 NYCRR
§ 251-1.6(b) permits such temporary confinement for up to 72 hours.
As Claimant was confined to his cell on this occasion for 24 hours and Claimant
has failed to come forward with any evidence contradicting Defendant’s
assertions, I find that his confinement on February 4 and February 5, 2004 was
Similarly, with regard to the second 24-hour period, Defendant has adequately
demonstrated that it is entitled to summary judgment. The hearing officer
sentenced Claimant to 30 days keeplock and indicated on the disposition sheet
(Defendant’s Exhibit B) that this 30-day period would expire on March 8,
2004. It appears that the hearing officer did not account for the fact that
2004 was a leap year and, therefore, the 30-day sentence would have expired on
March 7, 2004, not March 8, 2004. However, the affidavit of Maria McCann
demonstrates that the Defendant’s computer automatically picks up on such
oversights and recalculates each sentence. According to Defendant’s
records, Claimant was, in fact, released on March 7, 2004. I also note that
Claimant was permitted to apply the period between February 6, and February 18,
2004 (the date that his disciplinary hearing concluded) to his 30-day period as
“time served.” According to Defendant, this is generally not the
case and one could argue that Claimant actually should have been keeplocked
until March 19, 2004.
In any event, Claimant has failed to demonstrate that Defendant violated any of
its own rules or regulations in confining Claimant to his cell, or that
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
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, it is hereby
ORDERED, that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and the claim is dismissed in its entirety.