Notice of Motion, Affirmation in Support, with Exhibits 1,2
Claimant's Opposition, Affidavit of Opposition, with Exhibits 3,4
Filed Papers: Claim, Answer
By his filed claim, claimant seeks damages for personal injuries allegedly
sustained by him in two separate incidents involving as assault by another
inmate. He alleges that the first incident occurred on March 12, 1999, when he
was assaulted by an inmate sharing his cell at Gouverneur Correctional Facility.
He then alleges that after being provided with a new cell mate, he was attacked
by that inmate on March 13, 1999.
The basis of liability asserted against the State is alleged negligence in
requiring him to be double-bunked, even though he had advised prison official
that he was homosexual and that problems would occur if he was housed in a
double-bunk cell. He alleges that the State had violated its regulations
governing the double-bunking of inmates.
The protocols for the management of double-cell housing are set forth in 7
NYCRR Part 1701.
The State has a duty to exercise reasonable care to insure the safety of its
inmates as well as to provide those inmates with reasonable protection against
foreseeable risks of attacks by other inmates (Flaherty v State of New
York, 296 NY 342; Sebastiano v State of New York, 112 AD2d 562).
Even so, the State is not an insurer of inmate safety (Casella v State of New
York, 121 AD2d 495). Furthermore, the mere occurrence of an assault on an
inmate does not in and of itself give rise to an assumption of negligence
(Padgett v State of New York, 163 AD2d 914, lv denied 76 NY2d
In this case, claimant bases his claim of negligence against the State by
alleging that the State breached its own established regulations by permitting
claimant, a homosexual, to be double-bunked.
Upon his arrival at Gouverneur Correctional Facility on March 3, 1999,
documentary evidence submitted with this motion establishes that a "screening
and physical assessment for placement in a double cell" was completed on that
date, as required by § 1701.5(c). The appropriated form was completed as
required by § 1701.5(c)(6)(iii). Additionally, a "double-cell information
sheet" was also completed that same day, as required by § 1701.5(e). (See
Exhibits F and G to Items 1, 2).
On the basis of this assessment and review required to be performed by existing
regulations, claimant was deemed suitable for double-cell housing.
Additionally, homosexuality in and of itself does not render an inmate
ineligible for double-cell housing. Rather, § 1701.5(c)(4)(iv) states that
an inmate is ineligible for double-cell housing if he has been "found guilty at
facility disciplinary hearings of engaging in homosexual acts while
incarcerated." As claimant did not have any prior history of being charged with
disciplinary infractions for engaging in homosexual acts, he was not ineligible
for double-cell housing under this regulation.
Defendant has therefore established by documentary evidence that it fully
complied with existing rules and regulations in determining that claimant was
eligible for double-cell housing. Since the sole claim of negligence made by
the claimant is that the State violated its regulations in requiring him to be
double-bunked, and since the State has established by documentary evidence, that
it is in full compliance with such regulations governing double-cell housing in
this instance, no questions of fact remain. Since the State assigned claimant
to double-cell housing in full compliance with its existing regulations, the
State is entitled, as a matter of law, to summary judgment dismissing the claim.
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, that Motion No. M-61177 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED, that Claim No. 100517 is hereby DISMISSED.