New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PALMER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-010-032, Claim No. 103724


Synopsis


Inmate claimant alleged that force used by correction officer was excessive and unreasonable. The Court found that it was not excessive and the claim was dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2002-010-032
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY PALMER The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the only proper party defendant.
Claimant short name:
PALMER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the only proper party defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103724
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
ANTHONY PALMERPro 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:
July 26, 2002
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant seeks damages for personal injuries that he allegedly sustained on August 17, 2000 when he was assaulted by Correction Officer Ronald Goss during his incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. This claim was heard in a unified trial.
Claimant testified that he was returning from his program activity and was properly stopped at the "yellow line" in H gallery.[1] Inmate cells could be reached from beyond the line. He was ordered by Goss to "get on the wall for a pat frisk" and then told to "lock in." Claimant testified that, as he was returning to his cell, Goss punched claimant in the jaw for no apparent reason. A disciplinary hearing followed this incident, which resulted in a finding that claimant was violent and had refused a direct order. Claimant was placed in the special housing unit for 90 days. The findings of the disciplinary hearing were affirmed on appeal.
Correction Officer Ronald Goss testified at trial that on August 17, 2000, he was posted on H gallery. He observed
claimant beyond the yellow line, which was a violation of the facility's rules. Goss explained that typically, inmates go beyond the line to pass contraband to other inmates. During the pat frisk, claimant was boisterous and cursing. Goss ordered claimant to lock in his cell. Claimant went upstairs, yelling, and did not go into his cell. Claimant disobeyed two further orders to lock in his cell. As this exchange continued, a number of other inmates were returning to the area. There were no other officers in sight. Goss was alone and concerned that claimant could incite a riot.
Goss proceeded upstairs after
claimant. Claimant continued cursing and charged toward Goss. Goss defended himself and the two wrestled. Another correction officer arrived at the scene and claimant and Goss were taken to the emergency room.
Upon listening to the witnesses testify and observing their demeanor as they did so, the Court finds that, under the circumstances presented, the force used by Goss was reasonable and not excessive (
see Passino v State of New York, 260 AD2d 915).
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 103724.


July 26, 2002
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] All quotations are to the trial notes or audio tapes unless otherwise indicated.