New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
WALKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2020-041-028, Claim No. 134087, Motion No. M-95696

Synopsis

Inmate wrongful confinement claim is dismissed for failure to state a cause of action where claim fails to allege that defendant violated a disciplinary hearing rule or regulation in conducting disciplinary hearing which resulted in disciplinary determination which was administratively reversed.

Case information

UID: 2020-041-028
Claimant(s): JOHN WALKER, 18-A-4169
Claimant short name: WALKER
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 134087
Motion number(s): M-95696
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANK P. MILANO
Claimant's attorney: NONE
Defendant's attorney: HON. LETITIA JAMES
New York State Attorney General
By: Charles Lim, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: September 3, 2020
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Defendant moves to dismiss the inmate/claimant's wrongful confinement claim for failure to state a cause of action because the claim fails to allege that defendant violated a disciplinary hearing rule or regulation in conducting the claimant's disciplinary hearing which resulted in a disciplinary determination that was administratively reversed.

Claimant has not appeared in opposition to the motion.

The claim shows that the claimant was found guilty on April 29, 2019 of violating Clinton Correctional Facility rule 113.24, "DRUG USE," and was sentenced to a period of twenty-three (23) days in keeplock, in addition to the six (6) days of pre-hearing confinement claimant had already served.

The claim further shows that the disciplinary hearing determination of April 29, 2019 was administratively reversed by the Director, Special Housing/Inmate Disciplinary Program, on or about September 3, 2019, without explanation as to the basis of the reversal.

The claim asserts that he was given "a fales [sic] urinals [sic]" and that "I,ve [sic] gotten a full reversed [sic] on my drug teset [sic]."

To state a cause of action for wrongful confinement, claimant must allege that "(1) the defendant intended to confine him, (2) the [claimant] was conscious of the confinement, (3) the [claimant] did not consent to the confinement and (4) the confinement was not otherwise privileged" (Broughton v State of New York, 37 NY2d 451, 456 [1975], cert denied sub nom. Schanbarger v Kellogg, 423 US 929; Krzyzak v Schaefer, 52 AD3d 979 [3d Dept 2008]).

The element most often contested in a prison disciplinary wrongful confinement claim is whether claimant can allege and prove that the confinement was not "otherwise privileged."

With respect to whether a confinement is privileged, Holmberg v County of Albany (291 AD2d 610, 612 [3d Dept 2002], lv denied 98 NY2d 604 [2002]), instructs that: "Generally, where a facially valid order issued by a court with proper jurisdiction directs confinement, that confinement is privileged . . . and everyone connected with the matter is protected from liability for false imprisonment."

In the context of confinement pursuant to a prison disciplinary proceeding, such confinement is "privileged to the extent that it was under color of law or regulation, specifically in accordance with [inmate misbehavior] regulations" (Gittens v State of New York, 132 Misc 2d 399, 402 [Ct Cl 1986]).

The claim fails to allege any particular rule or regulation violation allegedly committed by defendant in conducting the claimant's disciplinary hearing. Consequently, the claim fails to allege facts showing that the confinement resulting from the inmate disciplinary proceeding was not "otherwise privileged."

The claim fails to state a cause of action for wrongful confinement. The claim is dismissed.

September 3, 2020

Albany, New York

FRANK P. MILANO

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Notice of Motion to Dismiss, filed July 21, 2020;

2. Affirmation in Support of Motion to Dismiss of Charles Lim, dated July 20, 2020, and attached exhibits.