New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GILL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-031-034, Claim No. 109091, Motion No. M-71694


Defendant has met its burden by demonstrating that Claimant’s confinement was privileged. Claimant has failed to come forward with any evidence to rebut Defendant’s position. Claim for illegal confinement is dismissed

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: HEATHER R. RUBINSTEIN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 8, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers, numbered 1 to 6, were read on motion by Defendant for summary judgment dismissing the claim:
  1. Defendant’s Notice of Motion, filed May 10, 2006;
2) Affirmation of Heather R. Rubinstein, Esq., dated May 8, 2006, with attached exhibits;
3) Affidavit of Maria McCann, sworn to May 4, 2006;
4) Defendant’s Memorandum of Law, dated May 8, 2006;
5) Claimant’s Affidavit, sworn to May 15, 2006, with attached exhibits;
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 order.

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 privileged.

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 399).

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.

June 8, 2006
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims