inmate, alleges that he was a victim of an assault resulting from
the negligent supervision of inmates at the Southport Correctional Facility
(hereinafter "Southport") and received inadequate medical treatment thereafter.
The trial of this Claim took place on May 15, 2001, at the Elmira Correctional
Claimant testified that on March 6, 1998, at approximately 5:30 p.m., he was
performing his duties as a porter in C-Block. He was collecting meal trays for
the day and alleges that a gate in C-Block was left open allowing Claimant to be
attacked by an unknown assailant. Claimant testified that he only saw out of
the corner of his eye the individual who slashed the left side of his face.
Claimant then went to the intercom called for a guard and reported his injury.
Claimant was then told to return to his cell for lock down and received medical
attention immediately. Claimant acknowledged on cross-examination that he was
unable to identify his assailant and had stated to a Correction Officer that
cut me" (emphasis added).
The State called Sergeant Thomas Decker who was the supervisor of C-Block at
Southport on March 6, 1998. Sergeant Decker testified that Claimant told him
that he had fallen and hurt himself in his cell. However, the witness
testified that the wound appeared to him to be a razor cut and that he
specifically asked Claimant if he had been cut by a razor. According to
Sergeant Decker, Claimant insisted that he had sustained the injury in a fall.
It was Sergeant Decker's opinion that the only way Claimant could have been cut
would have been through one of the meal slots of the cells contained in this
Block while Claimant was collecting meal trays. Sergeant Decker further
testified that there had been no prior reports of stabbings or slashings in this
particular cell block and Southport officials were not aware of any particular
inmate that posed a particular risk or threat of danger to staff or other
inmates within the cell block.
It is well-settled that the State is not an insurer of the safety of inmates,
although it must provide reasonable protection against foreseeable risks of
attack by other inmates. (
Pierrelouis v State of New York,
255 AD2d 824). Nevertheless, the mere
occurrence of an assault does not establish negligence. (Colon v State of
, 209 AD2d 842). The State will be liable for an inmate on inmate
assault only in the event of one of the following: (1) the victim is a known
risk and the State failed to provide reasonable protection; (2) the State had
notice that the assailant was particularly prone to perpetuating such an assault
and failed to take proper precautionary measures; or (3) the State had ample
notice and opportunity to intervene and failed to do so. (Sebastiano v State
of New York
, 112 AD2d 562; Littlejohn v State of New York
, 218 AD2d
833; Schittino v State of New York
, 262 AD2d 824, lv denied
NY2d 752). Here, Claimant was unable to identify his attacker and offered no
evidence that he was a known risk himself. Moreover, unremitting supervision is
unnecessary and, as such, absent any evidence of improper supervision, an
assault upon an inmate by an unknown assailant does not establish a breach of
any duty by the State owing to Claimant. Consequently, the Court finds from a
review of the evidence and testimony at trial that Claimant has failed to submit
any proof of improper supervision in this instance.
Finally, in the absence of any testimony from a medical expert, Claimant has
failed to establish that the inadequate medical treatment allegedly rendered
amounts to medical malpractice.
(Macey v Hassam
, 97 AD2d 919). To the contrary, the Court finds that
immediately after the attack, Claimant received appropriate and competent
Based on the foregoing, Claim No. 98067 is hereby DISMISSED.
ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.