New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ALLAH v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-005-005, Claim No. 99591


Standing outside in a towel for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes with out siiding any medical treatment does not cast the State in liability for negligent supervision, and in any event no damages or injuries were shown.

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:
Jamel Allah,Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Timothy P. Mulvey, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 12, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant is an inmate under the custody and control of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) and at all pertinent times herein was housed at the Cayuga Correctional Facility (Cayuga) in Special Housing Unit (SHU) S-Block, A-2-34. He alleges that on November 15, 1998, he was forced to stand outside in the recreation area wearing only a towel. Claimant alleges that this incident caused him to sustain physical and mental pain and anguish for which he is seeking damages in the amount of $16,000. Claimant testified at trial that he was sick with an upper respiratory illness for twenty-five days following this incident. Claimant predicates liability on the theory that the State is guilty of negligent supervision when a correction officer forced him to stand outside in cold weather.

To maintain an action on the theory of negligence, one must show 1) that there was a duty to the Claimant; 2) that the duty was breached; 3) that the breach in duty was a proximate cause to harm sustained, and 4) that there was actual damage sustained by the Claimant.

With respect to the duty owed to Claimant by the State, it is well established that the duty of the State is one of reasonable care under the circumstances (
Miller v State of New York, 62 NY2d 506; Preston v State of New York, 59 NY2d 997; Basso v Miller, 40 NY2d 233). The mere happening of an accident carries with it no presumption of negligence on the part of the State (Fitzgerald v State of New York, 28 Misc 2d 283; Richards v State of New York, 205 Misc 3).
Therefore, Claimant must show that the act of forcing him to stand outside in a towel for approximately 1½ to 3 minutes, breached the duty of "reasonable care under the circumstances." Claimant must then go on to show that the purported breach was a proximate cause of the harm he sustained, and that he actually sustained some damage or injury.

After reviewing the evidence, I find that Claimant has failed to meet his burden of showing that the State's purported negligence was the proximate cause of any injury. Indeed, the Claimant has failed to establish that he suffered any actual damage from the alleged negligence of being exposed to inclement weather for such a fleeting period of time. Claimant did not introduce any documentary evidence, medical records or otherwise, to show that he sought any treatment or actually sustained any injury or illness following this incident.

This claim must be and hereby is dismissed. All motions not heretofore ruled upon are now denied.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

July 12, 2002
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims