New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DAVIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-037-505, Claim No. 100196


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2007-037-505
Claimant(s):
JAMEL DAVIS
Claimant short name:
DAVIS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100196
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III
Claimant’s attorney:
Jamel Davis, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Attorney General
By: Gregory P. Miller, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
December 20, 2007
City:
Buffalo
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Jamel Davis, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim Number 100196 that while he was in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) at Collins Correctional Facility (Collins) he was wrongfully confined to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) from December 29, 1998 to March 25, 1999 when he should have been on keeplock status resulting in the loss of various privileges. Trial of the matter was held at Wende Correctional Facility (Wende) on September 6, 2007.

Claimant testified and his disciplinary history (Defendant’s Exhibit A) confirms that he was on keeplock status for disciplinary violations when he was sentenced to serve 180 days (July 2, 1998 to December 29, 1998) in SHU following a disciplinary hearing held at Wende on July 6, 1998. Before completing his SHU sentence, Claimant was again convicted of disciplinary violations following a hearing held at Collins on December 22, 1998 and was sentenced to an additional six months in SHU. Following an administrative appeal by Claimant, that conviction was reversed on March 9, 1999 (Defendant’s Exhibit D) and Claimant was immediately transferred from SHU into the general prison population at Attica Correctional Facility (Defendant’s Exhibit E). The Court finds that Claimant’s confinement in SHU from December 29, 1998 to March 25, 1999 resulted from his conviction and sentence of December 22, 1998.

An inmate who is unlawfully removed from the general population of a prison and placed in punitive segregation such as SHU or keeplock 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]). Where, however, the confinement is imposed in connection with a disciplinary proceeding, the State is absolutely immune from claims for money damages as long as those proceedings were conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures established by DOCS. This is true even if the underlying disciplinary charges are later reversed administratively or as the result of a successful Article 78 proceeding (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 position here appears to be that he is entitled to recover money damages for injuries caused by approximately 86 days of more restrictive confinement because he was detained in SHU for a disciplinary conviction which was later reversed on appeal. However, there is nothing before the Court to indicate that Defendant violated any of its own rules and regulations in conducting the hearing and in imposing penalties on Claimant, 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, its determinations are entitled to absolute immunity.

Defendant’s motion to dismiss upon which decision was reserved at trial is hereby granted and Claim Number 100196 is dismissed in its entirety.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.



December 20, 2007
Buffalo, New York

HON. JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III
Judge of the Court of Claims