New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TAYLOR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-010-028, Claim No. 103984


Synopsis


Inmate claimant failed to establish that he received inadequate medical care while incarcerated.

Case Information

UID:
2002-010-028
Claimant(s):
RUSSELL TAYLOR
Claimant short name:
TAYLOR
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103984
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
RUSSELL TAYLORPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General for the State of New YorkBy: Elyse Angelico, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 1, 2002
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant alleges that during his incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility[1] he received inadequate medical care from August 23, 1999 through October 21, 1999 . Specifically, claimant asserts that he was denied treatment for facial paralysis that was eventually diagnosed as Bell's Palsy.
"[A] duty of ordinary care is owed by prison authorities to provide for the health and care of their charges" (
Gordon v City of New York, 120 AD2d 562, 563, affd 70 NY2d 839; Cauley v State of New York, 224 AD2d 381). The theory of simple negligence is restricted to those cases where the alleged negligent acts are readily determinable by the trier of the facts on common knowledge (see Weiner v Lenox Hill Hosp., 88 NY2d 784; Rey v Park View Nursing Home, 262 AD2d 624; Coursen v New York Hospital-Cornell Med. Center, 114 AD2d 254, 256). However, where the treatment received by the patient is an issue, the more specialized theory of medical malpractice must be followed (see Twitchell v Mackay, 78 AD2d 125; Hale v State of New York, 53 AD2d 1025). To establish a prima facie case of medical malpractice, a claimant must prove, inter alia, that defendant departed from good and accepted medical practice and that such departure was a substantial factor in producing the alleged injury (see Tonetti v Peekskill Community Hosp., 148 AD2d 525; Mortensen v Memorial Hosp., 105 AD2d 151). A departure from good and accepted medical practice cannot be inferred from expert testimony; rather the expert must expressly state, with a degree of medical certainty, that defendant's conduct constitutes a deviation from the requisite standard of care (see Stuart v Ellis Hosp., 198 AD2d 559; Sohn v Sand, 180 AD2d 789; Salzman v Alan S. Rosell, D.D.S., P.C., 129 AD2d 833).
In the instant case,
claimant alleged that defendant failed to provide him with adequate medical care. This is belied by the record. Claimant's medical records of August 23, 1999 through May 4, 2001 show that claimant received ongoing treatment and medical care for his condition. Significantly absent from claimant's case was any competent medical evidence, either from a treating physician, or from an expert whose opinion was based upon the available medical records. Without such evidence, claimant's own unsubstantiated assertions and speculations were insufficient to establish merit and a prima facie case (see Wells v State of New York, 228 AD2d 581; Mosberg v Elahi, 176 AD2d 710 affd 80 NY2d 941; Quigley v Jabbur, 124 AD2d 398).
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 103984.

August 1, 2002
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] Claimant's application for poor person relief was denied at trial.