New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DAUM v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-044-006, Claim No. 102156


Inmate’s claim for wrongful confinement dismissed; his retention in "detention admission" pending availability of a cell in an appropriate facility was privileged.

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:
TERRY DAUM, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: James E. Shoemaker, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 3, 2008

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, filed this claim alleging that he was wrongfully confined in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Southport Correctional Facility (Southport) after expiration of the disciplinary sentence for which he had been assigned to SHU. Trial of the claim was held at Elmira Correctional Facility on March 12, 2008. In his claim, claimant alleges that in late November 1999, approximately two weeks prior to the expiration of his disciplinary sentence (December 8, 1999), he was transported from Southport to Rikers Island (Rikers) for a court appearance in Kings County. Claimant states he was then transported from Rikers to Downstate Correctional Facility (Downstate) on January 6, 2000. He avers that, since his disciplinary sentence had expired, he was housed at Downstate in general population. Claimant then asserts that on February 9, 2000, he was transferred from Downstate back to Southport, where he was again housed as a SHU inmate. When he protested his SHU confinement, he was advised by facility officials that he was being “administratively detained.” Claimant was then transferred to Auburn Correctional Facility on February 28, 2000, and thereafter to Wende Correctional Facility on March 6, 2000. Claimant’s trial testimony essentially reflected the statements set forth in his claim. He did acknowledge at trial that he had heard of administrative detention, but had done “no research”[1] regarding that issue. Claimant submitted no exhibits and rested his case after his testimony.

John Colvin, Deputy Superintendent of Security at Southport, testified on behalf of defendant State of New York (defendant). Colvin acknowledged that claimant had been held in what he described as “detention admission” at Southport during the time period in question. He stated that inmates can be held in this manner subsequent to the expiration of their disciplinary sentence to SHU pursuant to 7 NYCRR § 301.3 (a) (3). That regulation provides that detention admission “may be used . . . in cases where an inmate is awaiting transfer from Southport Correctional Facility.” Colvin testified that, in claimant’s case, he was being held in detention admission pending the availability of a cell in the appropriate facility for someone with claimant’s inmate classification.

Defendant also submitted into evidence a memorandum from a prison official to claimant dated February 23, 2000, presumably in response to claimant’s complaint regarding being held in SHU (Defendant’s Exhibit A). This memorandum states:
Your note to Superintendent McGinnis regarding your transfer was referred to this office for response. We are aware of your status. You recently returned from court. Now that your SHU time has expired, you will be transferred as soon as a space is available for you at your next facility. Until that time, you will remain at Southport in Detention Admission (id.).

In order to prevail on a cause of action for wrongful confinement, claimant must prove that defendant intended to confine him, that claimant was conscious of and did not consent to the confinement, and that the confinement was not otherwise privileged (Broughton v State of New York, 37 NY2d 451 [1975], cert denied sub nom. Shanbarger v Kellogg, 423 US 929 [1975]). Clearly, defendant intended to confine claimant. Obviously, as well, claimant was both aware of and did not consent to the confinement. However, from the facts presented, it appears that the confinement was, in fact, privileged. The facility acted within the bounds of the rules and regulations of the Department of Correctional Services in retaining claimant in detention admission pending the availability of a place at a facility appropriate to house claimant.

Claimant having failed to establish a prima facie case, Claim No. 102156 is hereby dismissed. Any and all motions on which the Court may have previously reserved or which were not previously determined, are hereby denied.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

April 3, 2008
Binghamton, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]. All quotes herein are taken from the Court’s recording of the proceedings, unless otherwise noted.