In this claim, claimant seeks to recover damages for personal injuries suffered
by him resulting from the alleged malfunction of an exercise machine which was
being used by claimant on May 22, 1998, while he was incarcerated at Watertown
Claimant testified that on May 22, 1998, he was using one of the
machines which were made available for inmate use when the machine
malfunctioned, and a component of the machine slipped, cutting claimant on his
Timothy Phillips testified on behalf of the defendant. Mr. Phillips is a
Recreation Program Leader at Watertown Correctional Facility, and has been
employed since 1983. He testified that the exercise machines are inspected by
the defendant on a daily basis. He additionally testified that there were no
complaints or incidents involving this particular machine prior to, or
subsequent to, claimant's accident.
As a landowner, the State has a duty to act as a reasonable person would to
maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition (
Preston v State of New York
, 59 NY2d 997; Basso v Miller
, 40 NY2d
233). In connection with its operation of a gymnasium, it must use the same
level of care to assure that its equipment is reasonably safe and free from
hazards (85 NY Jur 2d, Premises Liability, § 87; see also, Gregaydis v
Watervliet Civic Chest
, 14 AD2d 623). These obligations extend to
defendant's correctional facilities (see, Kandrach v State of New York
188 AD2d 910). Defendant is not, however, an insurer, and negligence may not
be inferred solely from the happening of an accident (Tripoli v State of New
, 72 AD2d 823; Mochen v State of New York
, 57 AD2d 719). Rather,
a claimant must prove that defendant breached a duty of care owed to the
claimant and that the breach of duty proximately caused the claimant's injury
(Basso v Miller
, 40 NY2d 233; supra
, at 240-241).
In this case, the Court does not find that the defendant has breached any duty
of care to claimant. No evidence was presented to establish that the exercise
machine was defective in any manner whatsoever.
Furthermore, even if claimant could establish that the machine was defective,
he has failed to show that the defendant had any knowledge, actual or
constructive, of a defective condition so that it would have had an opportunity
to repair it. It appears, based upon the testimony of Mr. Phillips, that the
defendant had an appropriate inspection policy in place, and that no visible or
apparent defects had been noticed prior to the accident.
For these reasons, Claim No. 98679 must be DISMISSED.
All motions not heretofore ruled upon are denied.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.