New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PRIESTER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-010-064, Claim No. 98680, Motion No. M-61621


Synopsis


Defendant's motion for summary judgment denied.

Case Information

UID:
2000-010-064
Claimant(s):
KARON PRIESTER
Claimant short name:
PRIESTER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
98680
Motion number(s):
M-61621
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
ANDREW F. PLASSE, ESQ.
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General for the State of New YorkBy: Vincent Cascio, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 22, 2000
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers numbered 1-3 were read and considered by the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment:[1]
Notice of Motion, Attorney's Supporting Affirmation and Exhibits, Memorandum of Law.......................................................................................................................1

Attorney's Opposing Affirmation and Exhibit.........................................................2

Attorney's Reply Affirmation...................................................................................3

Claim No. 98680 alleges that on October 20, 1997 at approximately 11:37 a.m., claimant, an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, was taking a shower, when inmate Balazs stabbed claimant repeatedly with an ice pick. The claim alleges, inter alia, negligent supervision.

While the State is required to use reasonable care to protect the inmates of its correctional facilities from the foreseeable risk of harm (see, Flaherty v State of New York, 296 NY 342; Littlejohn v State of New York, 218 AD2d 833; Dizak v State of New York, 124 AD2d 329; Sebastiano v State of New York, 112 AD2d 562), "[t]he State is not an insurer of inmate safety; its duty is to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable attacks by other inmates." (Padgett v State of New York, 163 AD2d 914). The mere fact that a correction officer may not have been present when the assault on claimant occurred does not give rise to an inference of negligence, absent a showing that prison officials had notice of a foreseeably dangerous situation (see, Leibach v State of New York, 215 AD2d 978; Padgett v State of New York, supra).

Defendant seeks summary judgment arguing that, inter alia, claimant cannot prove that any alleged negligence of defendant was a proximate cause of the accident. "[S]ummary judgment is a drastic remedy and should not be granted where there is any doubt as to the existence of a triable issue" (Rotuba Extruders v Ceppos, 46 NY2d 223, 231quoting Moskowitz v Garlock, 23 AD2d 943, 944), and "negligence cases by their very nature do not lend themselves to summary dismissal ‘since often, even if all parties are in agreement as to the underlying facts, the very question of negligence is itself a question for jury determination' " (McCummings v New York City Tr. Auth., 81 NY2d 923, 926 quoting Ugarriza v Schmieder, 46 NY2d 471, 474). Upon review of all the papers, the Court finds that defendant is not entitled to summary judgment as there are numerous issues of material fact which must be resolved at trial.

Motion DENIED.


September 22, 2000
White Plains , New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]
While the motion was filed beyond the time limit set forth in the Preliminary Conference Order, based upon the reasons set forth in defendant's moving papers, the Court has considered the motion on the merits.