New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROWN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-009-013, Claim No. 95945


Synopsis


Claimant brought this claim alleging negligence against the State based upon improper and inadequate medical treatment. The Court dismissed the claim based upon claimant's failure to establish his claim with expert medical testimony.

Case Information

UID:
2000-009-013
Claimant(s):
MICHAEL BROWN
Claimant short name:
BROWN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
95945
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Nicholas V. Midey, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
MICHAEL BROWN, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Carla T. Rutigliano, Esq.,
Assistant Attorney General of Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 3, 2000
City:
Watertown
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant, an inmate appearing
pro se, alleges negligence against the State for denying him proper and adequate medical treatment.
A trial was held on this claim at Watertown Correctional Facility on October 30, 2000, at which time claimant was the sole witness.

Claimant testified that beginning in 1992, while he was incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility, he experienced severe pain in his left ear. Although given medication for this condition, claimant testified that he continued to experience problems with his left ear, and continued to receive medication, up to the early part of 1995, when he was transferred to Watertown Correctional Facility. After his transfer to Watertown Correctional Facility, claimant was again examined and was referred to Welch Medical Center in Rome, New York. Claimant testified that a physician at this medical center recommended surgery to correct his condition, but that the surgery was then denied by United Health Care Group as not being medically necessary.

Claimant further testified that eventually, after numerous and continued complaints, the surgery was performed on March 25, 1998 (subsequent to the date of filing of this claim).

Following his testimony, claimant rested without providing any additional evidence, and he produced no other witnesses.

To proceed upon a theory of medical malpractice, the burden is on claimant to establish that the care and treatment afforded him by the State at the correctional facility constituted a deviation from the applicable standard of care, in that the medical personnel either did not possess, or did not use reasonable care in the application of, the knowledge and skill ordinarily possessed by practitioners in the field (Pike v Honsinger, 155 NY 201; Riley v Wieman, 137 AD2d 309). There is nothing in the record to support a finding that the medical personnel who treated claimant either lacked a reasonable degree of learning and skill, or that they failed to use reasonable care in examining and treating claimant.
The State has an obligation to provide ordinary and appropriate medical treatment to inmates who are incarcerated in their institutions (
Gordon v City of New York, 120 AD2d 562, affd 70 NY2d 839). The only testimony before the Court was that of the claimant, who claimed that the delay in surgery resulted in a deterioration of hearing in his left ear. However, no expert medical testimony was presented to the Court to substantiate claimant's assertions. Without expert medical testimony, the Court cannot find that the treatment provided claimant was inadequate.
I therefore find and conclude that claimant has failed to establish his claim by a preponderance of the credible evidence.

Accordingly, the State's motion to dismiss the claim, made at the close of the claimant's proof, upon which decision was reserved, is now GRANTED and the claim is hereby DISMISSED.

THE CHIEF CLERK IS DIRECTED TO ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.


November 3, 2000
Watertown, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY, JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims