New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GREEN v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-037-504, Claim No. 104741


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:
Shawn Green, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
New York State Attorney General
By: Joseph F. Romani, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
May 11, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

Shawn Green, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim Number 104741 that while he was in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) at Elmira Correctional Facility (Elmira), a correction officer filed a false misbehavior report against him and the hearing officer for the Tier III disciplinary hearing that followed was biased against Claimant causing him to be wrongfully convicted of the charges and sentenced to confinement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) resulting in the loss of privileges and mental anguish. Trial of the matter was held at Elmira on March 29, 2006.
Claimant testified that on May 15, 2001, Correction Officer Hollenbeck initiated disciplinary action against him by filing a false misbehavior report alleging, inter alia, that he created a disturbance and threatened a correction officer. The disciplinary hearing on these charges commenced on May 24, 2001 and was concluded on June 6, 2001. Claimant was found guilty of the charges and was sentenced to four days in keeplock status, one hundred seventy-six days in SHU and the loss of commissary and phone privileges (Exhibits 1 & 2). Following the hearing, Claimant appealed the determination administratively and the conviction and sentence were affirmed on July 18, 2001.
No other evidence was submitted and no other witnesses testified.
Claimant asserts that because the hearing officer was biased and predetermined his guilt he was deprived of his right to a fair hearing, in violation of his constitutional rights. However, Claimant does not indicate how the hearing officer would know that the charges against him were false and he does not indicate any specific rule or regulation that was violated during the hearing process to support his claim for monetary compensation. Further, although Claimant disputes the validity of the charges against him that were determined at the hearing, he cites no shortcoming in the hearing process itself upon which an action for illegal confinement can be based.
An inmate who is unlawfully removed from a prison’s general population and placed in punitive segregation such as keeplock or SHU may have a cause of action for monetary damages (see e.g. Wilkinson v Skinner, 34 NY2d 53 [1974]). Such a cause of action has roots in due process considerations ( Wilkinson v Skinner, supra; Edmonson v State of New York, 132 Misc 2d 452 [1986]; see also Arteaga v State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 221 [1988]) and it is also recognized as “a ‘species’ of false imprisonment” (Ramirez v State of New York, 171 Misc 2d 677, 682 [1997]). However, the actions of correctional facility employees insofar as they relate to inmate discipline are quasi-judicial in nature and, unless they exceed the scope of their authority or violate applicable rules and regulations, are accorded absolute immunity (Arteaga v State of New York, supra at 218-220; Matter of Rivera v Smith, 63 NY2d 501, 513 [1984]; Davis v State of New York, 262 AD2d 887 [1999], lv denied 93 NY2d 819 [1999]).
Claimant’s submissions demonstrate that the hearing officer took appropriate disciplinary measures and acted within the scope of his discretionary authority in conducting the hearing and in imposing penalties on Claimant. There is nothing before the Court to indicate that Defendant violated any of its own rules and regulations in conducting the hearing, or otherwise acted outside the sphere of privileged actions (Arteaga v State of New York, supra; Holloway v State of New York, 285 AD2d 765 [2001]). Accordingly, their determinations are entitled to immunity.

Defendant’s motion to dismiss upon which decision was reserved at the time of trial is hereby granted, and Claim Number 104741 is dismissed in its entirety.

May 11, 2006
Buffalo, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims