New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SANDLIN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-011-533, Claim No. NONE, Motion No. M-62901


Claimant's motion for permission to late file a claim based upon allegations that Defendant was negligent in allow a number of assaults on Claimant is denied.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Danyell Sandlin, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Dennis M. Acton, Esq., Assistant Attorney General)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 12, 2001
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The proposed claim is based upon allegations that Defendant was negligent in allowing anumber of assaults on Claimant by other inmates. A cause of action for a battery upon Claimant by correction officers is also pleaded.

When considering a motion for permission to late file a claim, the court is required to address six factors enumerated in Court of Claims Act §10(6). The first of those factors is whether there is a reasonable excuse for the delay in filing. The excuses offered by Claimant, ignorance of the filing requirements and incarceration, are insufficient.

Other factors to be considered are whether Defendant had notice of the essential facts of the claim and an opportunity to investigate. Though Claimant maintains that investigations were done by the Department of Correctional Service, the State Police and the District Attorney, he does not indicate which of the incidents were investigated and there is no basis for concluding that all eight of the incidents alleged were investigated. Furthermore, though more than the passage of time is needed to establish that the delay in filing has caused substantial prejudice to Defendant, the most recent of the incidents alleged occurred nearly two years ago.

Also to be considered is whether the proposed claim has an appearance of merit. A claim is said to have merit when it is not patently groundless, frivolous or legally defective and there is reason to believe that a valid cause of action exists (Matter of Santana v New York State Thruway Auth., 92 Misc 2d 1). Though the State has a duty to provide inmates with reasonable protection against foreseeable risks of attack by other inmates (Colon v State of New York, 209 AD2d 842), the claim must allege that Defendant had notice of an especially dangerous situation (see Padgett v State of New York, 163 AD2d 914). Claimant, however, has not alleged facts to support a conclusion that the attacks by fellow inmates were foreseeable. He only alleges that Defendant was negligent because proper procedures were not followed. The failure to follow prescribed procedures cannot form the basis of a claim for negligence unless it was foreseeable that such failure might lead to an attack on Claimant. Accordingly, there is no basis for concluding that valid causes of action exist with respect to the attacks by other inmates.  However, based upon the allegations in the proposed claim the cause of action for battery has an appearance of merit.

No adequate alternate remedy is available.

On balance, consideration of the factors in CCA §10(6) weigh against granting the motion and accordingly, it is denied.

March 12, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Submitted:

1. Notice of Motion undated.
2. Affidavit in Support of Danyell Sandlin sworn to the 26th day of December, 2000 with exhibits annexed
3. Affidavit in Opposition of Dennis M. Acton, Esq., sworn to the 8th day of January, 2001.