New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ODOM v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-010-062, Claim No. 96332


Synopsis


Inmate pro se's claim for excessive force dismissed. The evidence established that the amount of force was not excessive under the circumstances presented.

Case Information

UID:
2001-010-062
Claimant(s):
JONATHAN ODOM
Claimant short name:
ODOM
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
96332
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
JONATHAN ODOMPro 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 30, 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 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility ("Sing Sing") as a result of the use of excessive force by correction officers on May 19, 1997 and the subsequent denial of medical treatment.[1]
Claimant testified that on May 19, 1997, he was upset about the loss of his property and did not want to leave Sing Sing until he was in possession of his property. The correction officers, however, were preparing claimant for his departure. According to claimant, he refused to leave without his property so Officers Valentin, Cosme and other unidentified officers assaulted claimant and twisted his arm.
Claimant testified that he made numerous complaints, nonetheless, he was denied medical attention.
Correction Officer Nelson Valentin testified that claimant, as per standard procedure, was required to undergo a "strip frisk"[2]
before boarding the van for his transfer to another facility. After the frisk was completed, claimant was ordered to dress. Claimant did not comply despite numerous orders to dress. Accordingly, the correction officers proceeded to dress claimant. Valentin denied any use of excessive force.
Each of the officers involved completed a Use of Force Report and other documents concerning the incident (Ex. 6). Each of these reports indicate that claimant refused to comply with orders to dress himself and that, after claimant's continued defiance and aggressive behavior, the officers dressed claimant, which required taking him to the floor to put on his pants (Ex. 6).

The evidence establishes that the amount of force used was not excessive under the circumstances presented (
see, Passino v State of New York, 260 AD2d 915). Additionally, the evidence is contrary to claimant's assertions that he was denied medical attention. Immediately following the incident, claimant was given a medical assessment that resulted in the completion of an Inmate Accident Report (Exs. 2, 5) and a Report of Inmate Injuries (Ex. 6). Photographs were also taken of claimant (Ex. 6). Claimant was examined at Sing Sing on the date of the incident and again at Clinton Correctional Facility on the day following the incident (Exs. 3, 4). The medical evidence indicates no bruising or edema and further supports this Court's finding that excessive force was not used (Exs. 2-5). In sum, claimant has failed to meet his burden of proof and his claim warrants dismissal.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 96332.


August 30, 2001
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] It is noted that, by Decision and Order file stamped June 4, 1998, claimant was sanctioned $1,500.00 for bringing frivolous claims; at the time, claimant had 33 pro se claims pending (Odom v State of New York, Ct Cl, June 3,1998, Bell, J., Claim No. 93773). Additionally, claimant was prohibited from filing any new pro se claims, absent a Court Order granting him permission, until the judgment is paid. This claim was filed June 2, 1997, before the sanction was imposed.
[2] All quotations are to the trial notes or audio tapes unless otherwise indicated.