This claim for medical malpractice alleged the State failed to provide the
claimant, an inmate at Ulster Correctional Facility, with proper medical care,
in that an injury he sustained was not properly
The claimant was the only witness at trial. His testimony outlined his plight
from the evening of September 22, 1998 when he slipped in his cell and
fractured his arm through the removal of his cast on November 5, 1998. The
medical records entered established that on the date of the injury claimant was
first treated in the facility infirmary, then transported to Eastern
Correctional Hospital Emergency Room (ECHER) to rule out a fracture. At ECHER
a preliminary diagnosis of a fractured left arm was made. Claimant was then
transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital for further treatment. The
hospital discharge report (Exhibit 1) reflected he had a broken bone, that a
splint was used to immobilize his arm and also provided other care and follow-up
At the conclusion of the claimant's case, the State made a trial motion to
dismiss the claim pursuant to CPLR 4401.
To establish a prima facie case of liability in a medical malpractice action, a
claimant must prove (1) the standard of care in the locality where the treatment
occurred, (2) that the defendant breached that standard of care, and (3) that
the breach of the standard was the proximate cause of injury.
Berger v Becker, 272 AD2d 565
. When the medical malpractice involves
patient treatment, three component duties are owed by the physician to the
patient: (1) the duty to possess the requisite knowledge and skill such as is
possessed by the average member of the medical profession; (2) a duty to
exercise ordinary and reasonable care in the application of such professional
knowledge and skill; and (3) the duty to use his best judgment in the
application of this knowledge and skill. Littlejohn v State of New York 87
AD2d 951, 952 citing Pike v Honsinger, 155 NY 201, 209- 210.
To sustain this burden, a claimant must present expert testimony that the
defendant's conduct constituted a deviation from the requisite standard of
Berger v Becker, supra; and Koehler v Schwartz, 48 NY2d 807
testimony is necessary... unless the
matter is one which is within the
experience and observation of the ordinary juror).
In considering a CPLR 4401 motion for judgment as a matter of law, the trial
court must afford the party opposing the motion every inference which may
properly be drawn from the facts presented, the facts must be considered in a
light most favorable to the nonmovant and the court may grant the motion if, on
the evidence presented, there is no rational process by which the fact trier
could base a finding in favor of the nonmoving party.
Szczerbiak v Pilat 90 NY2d 553,
556. Here, viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the claimant and
affording him the benefit of every
favorable inference, he has failed to establish a prima facie
malpractice. The claimant presented no expert testimony to demonstrate that the
defendant departed from an accepted standard of care in either diagnosing the
injury or in the treatment he received upon his return to the correctional
The Defendant's motion is granted and the claim is dismissed.
Let judgment be entered accordingly.