New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BERNARD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-010-057, Claim No. 91848


Synopsis


Inmate slip and fall dismissed on basis of lack of credible evidence.

Case Information

UID:
2001-010-057
Claimant(s):
PEDRO BERNARD The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the only proper party defendant.
Claimant short name:
BERNARD
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the only proper party defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
91848
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
PEDRO BERNARDPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General for the State of New YorkBy: Elyse Angelico, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 9, 2001
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant, an inmate proceeding
pro se, seeks damages for personal injuries that he allegedly sustained as a result of a fall in the Psychiatric Satellite Unit ("PSU") at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.
Claimant testified that, on May 16, 1995 at approximately 7:00 p.m., he was returning from the shower to PSU when, upon entering the dormitory, he slipped and fell, cutting his hand on the sharp edge of a bed frame. Claimant was unable to articulate what, if anything, triggered his fall.

Correction Officer Bruce Dunn, who worked in the PSU for approximately twelve years, testified that during his years of employment he had not encountered any injury of the type described by claimant and that it would be very difficult for an injury to occur in such manner.

It is well established that the State has a duty to maintain its facilities in a reasonably safe condition (
Preston v State of New York, 59 NY2d 997). With respect to the safety of persons on its property, the duty of the State is one of reasonable care under the circumstances (see Miller v State of New York,62 NY2d 506, 512; Preston v State of New York, supra; Basso v Miller, 40 NY2d 233, 241). The State, however, is not an insurer of the safety of its inmates and negligence cannot be inferred solely from the occurrence of an accident (see, Killeen v State of New York, 66 NY2d 850; Condon v State of New York, 193 AD2d 874).
In order to prevail on his claim, claimant must show: the existence of a foreseeably dangerous condition; that the State created the condition or had either actual or constructive notice of the condition; that the State failed to remedy the condition within a reasonable time; that such condition was the proximate cause of claimant's accident; and that claimant sustained damages (
see, Gordon v American Museum of Natural History, 67 NY2d 836; Ligon v Waldbaum Inc., 234 AD2d 347; Mercer v City of NewYork, 223 AD2d 688, affd 88 NY2d 955).
In the instant case, claimant failed to adequately describe the events leading to his fall. Accordingly, the Court finds that the evidence presented was insufficient to establish that defendant had either actual or constructive notice of a foreseeably dangerous condition and failed to remedy it within a reasonable time. Accordingly, claimant has failed to satisfy his burden of proof and this claim is dismissed.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 91848


August 9, 2001
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims