, seeks to recover damages based upon the alleged negligence of the
defendant. The claim alleges that on December 30, 1996, while incarcerated at
Sing Sing Correctional Facility (hereinafter Sing Sing), claimant was stabbed by
another inmate. Claimant alleges that the State was negligent in failing to
provide adequate supervision to prevent the attack. The trial of this claim was
held on August 17, 2000 at Sing Sing.
Claimant testified that on the afternoon of December 30, 1996, while he was an
inmate porter at Sing Sing, he was let out of his cell to get cleaning supplies.
He alleges that there were no supplies in the area where they were supposed to
be kept so he returned to his cell, where he discovered the gate was locked. He
then left his cell area in search of the correction officer on duty to open the
cell. Claimant stated that, as he passed another inmate on the gallery, the
inmate stabbed him twice. Claimant further stated that after the assault, he
ran down the stairs to an area known as "the flats" where he reported the attack
to a C.O. This C.O. took him to a "main area of the flats" (Court's trial
notes) where he was handcuffed and taken to the infirmary. Claimant testified
that while in the infirmary, he was interviewed by a sergeant, and after
treatment (see Exhibit 2), was escorted to Involuntary Protective Custody where
he was shown pictures of inmates. Claimant stated that he identified his
assailant. Claimant testified that, to his belief, when correction officers
searched his attacker, a knife was found in his possession. However, no
evidence in support of his "belief" was submitted.
Claimant asserts that a C.O. should be on the gallery at all times and that, at
the time he was assaulted, there was no officer present. He further asserted his
belief that a C.O. should be aware of an inmate's movements at all times.
Claimant asserts that if the C.O. has been at his post he would not have been
Despite claimant's assertion that the correction officers at Sing Sing did not
follow proper State guidelines for safety at the facility on December 30, 1996,
claimant submitted no specific rule or regulation which he asserts was violated.
Further, even if the C.O. was absent from his post (as asserted by claimant),
there was no evidence that such absence was causally related to the attack.
Simply, the Court is not persuaded that the presence of a C.O. at the end of the
gallery would have prevented this assault.
While the State must provide inmates reasonable protection against foreseeable
risks of attack by other inmates
(Blake v State of New York
, 259 AD2d 878; Sebastiano v State of New
, 112 AD2d 562), the State is not an insurer of the safety of inmates,
and the fact that an assault occurs does not give rise to the inference of
negligence (Sebastiano v State of New York
In order to establish liability on behalf of the State, an inmate claimant must
allege and prove one of the following grounds: (1) the victim was a known risk
and the State failed to provide reasonable protection (
, Sebastiano v State of New York
); (2) the State
had notice that the assailant was dangerous and refused to take the proper
, Littlejohn v State of New York
, 218 AD2d 833;
Wilson v State of New York
, 36 AD2d 559); or (3) the State had ample
notice and the latitude to mediate and failed to act (see
, Huertas v
State of New York
, 84 AD2d 650).
Claimant offered no proof that he was a known risk, nor did he present any
evidence that his assailant was a known dangerous prisoner, thereby placing the
State on notice of any increased likelihood of assault. The record fails to
establish any motive for the assault, or any indication that claimant or his
assailant ever engaged in violent attacks or other disruptive conduct while
incarcerated. Claimant also failed to establish that the State had notice that
the attack would occur or was likely to occur.
Under the factual circumstances of the present case, liability against the
State cannot be found. Despite the unwarranted and vicious assault upon the
claimant, the proof offered at trial demonstrates none of the grounds necessary
for a finding of liability involving an assault by one inmate upon another
inmate in a State correctional institution. Unremitting supervision of inmates
is not required (
Colon v State of New York
, 209 AD2d 842).
Based upon the evidence presented, we find and conclude that while claimant was
assaulted and sustained various injuries, he has failed to establish, by a
preponderance of the credible evidence, that the State was negligent in failing
to properly supervise the inmates.
Therefore, based upon the foregoing, the claim is dismissed. The Chief Clerk
is directed to enter judgment accordingly.