New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MADISON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-028-0007, Claim No. 96923


Medical Malpractice - Inmate commenced action alleging dentist failed to properly extract his tooth and provide aftercare. Documents received in evidence confirmed the underlying facts of the claim. However, the claimant presented no expert testimony to demonstrate that the defendant departed from an accepted standard of care in leaving the root tip in his jaw or in the course of treatment he received thereafter. Accordingly, the claim was dismissed.

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:
Defendant's attorney:
BY: Saul Aronson, Esq. Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 23, 2001

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

The Claimant, Diallo Rafik Asar Madison,[1]
filed this claim on September 8, 1997 seeking compensation for injuries he sustained through the alleged dental malpractice and negligence of an employee of the State of New York. The claimant alleges that on or about June 16, 1997, while he was incarcerated at the Eastern Correctional Facility (Eastern), a facility dentist unsuccessfully attempted to extract a tooth and then failed to provide appropriate follow-up treatment.
Claimant was the only witness to offer testimony at trial. Claimant testified that a fracture of tooth number 15 was noted in March, 1997 when he went to the dentist complaining of pain and swelling. Dental treatment records
(Claimant's Exhibit 2) disclosed that in April 1997 claimant declined to have the tooth extracted, but then in late May agreed to the procedure which was scheduled for June 19, 1997. During the course of the tooth extraction, claimant testified he heard the dentist state "I should've sent him to the outside hospital."[2] Following that statement, the dentist told claimant that a small portion of the tooth remained in place and that it would not cause him any problems. Claimant stated that he experienced discomfort in the form of a stabbing pain and a feeling of rawness when he ate. At a follow-up visit, the dentist massaged his gums. Claimant testified he was not satisfied with the care he received at Eastern and the attitude of the dentist toward him. In 1999, claimant again experienced pain from the root tip and sought treatment. He was seen by an oral surgeon and in February 1999, underwent successful surgery to remove the root tip.
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 possession; (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 care.
Berger v Becker, 272 AD2d 565, supra; and Koehler v Schwartz, 48 NY2d 807 (Expert testimony is necessary... unless the
matter is one which is within the experience and observation of the ordinary juror). See also, Stanback v. State of New York, 163 AD2d 298 (Inmate's expert medical witness testified to lack of treatment).
Here, the claimant failed to establish a prima facie case of malpractice. Although the Court reviewed the x-rays and dental records submitted into evidence
(Claimant's Exhibits 1 and 2), what constitutes the appropriate standard of medical care and treatment when a tooth is extracted, and what, if any, treatment is necessary when the root tip remains in place following the extraction is not within the experience and observation of the trier of fact. Claimant offered nothing of probative value to prove that defendant failed to afford him medical appointments and procedures as appropriate. The claimant presented no expert testimony to demonstrate that the defendant departed from an accepted standard of care in leaving the root tip in his jaw or in the course of treatment he received thereafter.
Accordingly, this claim is dismissed.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

February 23, 2001
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1] The claim was filed under the name of Derrold Madison. Thereafter, claimant advised the Court that he had changed his name and the caption has been amended to reflect this change.
[2]Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are from the Judge's trial notes, supplemented as necessary by reference to the Court's audio tape of the trial.