This pro se Claimant alleges negligence by the State of New York
(hereinafter "State") in the distribution and prescription of eyeglasses for the
Claimant while incarcerated at both Shawangunk Correctional Facility and
Sullivan Correctional Facility. The trial of this Claim was heard on May 10,
2000 at Sullivan Correctional Facility.
Claimant testified on his own behalf and stated that on or about December 7,
1993, he requested to see an eye doctor at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility
because he was having trouble seeing at distances. The doctor at Shawangunk
prescribed a pair of glasses which Claimant received on or about January 1,
1994. On or about July 20, 1995, Claimant again requested to see an eye doctor
after he was transferred to Sullivan Correctional Facility. Claimant testified
he made this second request because of his inability to see distances despite
wearing the glasses he received on January 1, 1994. Claimant's second request
to see an eye doctor was denied inasmuch as routine eye examinations are
permitted once every two years pursuant to Department of Correctional Services
policy. Upon being denied his request for a second examination, Claimant filed
a grievance and prevailed on the same, being allowed to schedule an appointment
with an eye doctor on September 27, 1995. Claimant testified he received a
second set of prescription eyeglasses with the correct prescription sometime
thereafter. Claimant alleges damages for his worsened eyesight, personal
suffering, and the cost of the old prescription.
Claimant, with only hearsay evidence, attempted to establish that the second
eye doctor informed him that the glasses he had been wearing were not the
prescription as indicated on his medical records and, as a result, his eyesight
had worsened since January 1, 1994. However, the State objected to such hearsay
testimony and the Court sustained the same. Other than that hearsay testimony,
Claimant offered no other proof or expert testimony that, in fact, the first
prescription was either wrong, inappropriately filled, or that his eyes had
worsened as a result of the wearing the allegedly improper eyeglasses since
January 1, 1994. After providing his testimony to the Court, Claimant rested.
The State offered no proof, but rather moved to dismiss on the grounds Claimant
had failed to establish a prima facie case of either ordinary negligence or
medical malpractice. In response, Claimant admitted that he could not prove a
causal connection between his decreased eyesight and his allegedly improper eye
Claimant has failed to meet his burden of proof whether this Claim is viewed as
sounding in ordinary negligence or medical malpractice. With respect to
ordinary negligence, Claimant offered no evidence whatsoever substantiating his
allegation that his eyeglass prescription was improperly filled. To the extent
that this Claim could be viewed as arising from medical malpractice resulting
from the issuance of the wrong prescription, Claimant failed to offer any
medical proof that he was injured in any way as a result of the alleged
erroneous prescription. It is well-settled that without medical proof (i.e.,
expert testimony) a claim sounding in medical malpractice must fail. (Macey v
Hassam, 97 AD2d 919). Claimant by his own admission was not an expert in
optometry or ophthalmology and provided no such expert testimony to the Court.
Consequently, Claimant failed to establish a prima facie case of either ordinary
negligence or medical malpractice. (Santana v State of New York, Ct Cl.,
April 28, 2000, Bell, J., Claim No. 98705).
Accordingly, Claim No. 94836 is hereby DISMISSED.
ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.