New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SANCHEZ v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-017-033, Claim No. 96066


The Court dismissed claimant's claim alleging that while incarcerated in various State Correctional Facilities the issuance of an orthotic shoe lift was delayed for over two years, causing him back problems.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper party defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

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

Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
David Sanchez, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: J. Gardner Ryan, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 10, 2000
White Plains

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

Claimant filed the instant claim on April 23, 1997 alleging that he developed a back condition as a result of defendant's failure to provide him with an orthotic lift for his left shoe for approximately two years after hip surgery which left him with one leg shorter than the other. A unified trial on this claim was held at Fishkill Correctional Facility, during which claimant testified.

Claimant explained at trial that on April 15, 1994, while incarcerated under the care and custody of the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), he had total hip replacement. Claimant testified that the surgery was performed by Dr. Holder at St. Agnes Hospital. Notations contained in claimant's Ambulatory Health Record, which was admitted into evidence as Exhibit 1, indicate that on June 21, 1994 the recommendation was made that claimant receive an orthopedic consultation for the purpose of evaluating him for a lift for his left shoe. Claimant testified at trial that he did not receive an orthopedic consultation until June 24, 1996, some two years later, and did not actually receive the lift until July 22, 1996.

Claimant testified that his orthopedic evaluation was delayed because he was transferred to several facilities within the correctional system during that two-year period. He also testified that as a result of the hip operation, his left leg is shorter than the right. According to claimant, the discrepancy in the length of his legs caused him to develop back problems.

Claimant conceded upon questioning by the Court, however, that there is no documentation in any of his medical records that were admitted into evidence at trial that indicates that the failure to provide claimant with proper orthotics and boots caused his back problems. Claimant has otherwise failed to present any expert medical testimony to establish that the delay in providing him with the shoe lift was the proximate cause of his back injuries, and claimant has failed to present a
prima facie case in this regard.
Claimant also seeks damages for injuries he allegedly suffered as a result of a wire that remained in his hip area after the 1994 hip surgery performed by Dr. Holder. Claimant was unsure during his testimony if the wire was intentionally placed in his hip or accidentally left there. Claimant failed to present any expert medical testimony to establish whether the presence of the wire comported with accepted standards of care in the medical community and whether the wire was the proximate cause of the pain he allegedly suffered. Thus, to the extent that claimant seeks damages arising from the presence of the wire in his hip, the Claim must also fail. Accordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss the claim for failure to establish a departure from good and accepted medical practice
, upon which the Court reserved decision at trial is GRANTED, and Claim No. 96066 is DISMISSED.

August 10, 2000
White Plains, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims