New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HAGLEY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-010-033, Claim No. 103747


Synopsis


Inmate claimant alleged that the state was responsible for injuries he sustained when his bed collapsed. The Court found that claimant failed to establish that defendant did not to remedy the condition within a reasonable period of time and the claim was dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2002-010-033
Claimant(s):
MARLON HAGLEY
Claimant short name:
HAGLEY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103747
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
MARLON HAGLEYPro 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 injuries he allegedly sustained on October 3, 2000, during his incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. This claim was heard in a unified trial.
Claimant testified that on October 3, 2000 at approximately 12:30 to 1:00 p.m., he observed that the locking mechanism on his bed was faulty and the headboard was shaking. He maintains that he advised a correction officer that the bed was defective and was told that it could not be replaced at that time of day. Despite claimant's awareness of the alleged defect, he got into the bed and it collapsed with the headboard falling down on claimant's head. No report documenting this incident was offered into evidence.
Claimant sought medical care at 2:30 p.m. and an x-ray was taken which revealed a normal alignment, no compression fractures and no focal bony lesions. No significant abnormalities were noted. Follow-up x-rays taken on November 14, 200 were similarly unremarkable.
It is well established that the State has a duty to maintain its facilities in a reasonably safe condition (
Preston v State of New York, 59 NY2d 997). With respect to the safety of persons on its property, the duty of the State is one of reasonable care under the circumstances (see Miller v State of New York,62 NY2d 506, 512; Preston v State of New York, supra; Basso v Miller, 40 NY2d 233, 241). The State, however, is not an insurer of the safety of its inmates and negligence cannot be inferred solely from the occurrence of an accident (see, Killeen v State of New York, 66 NY2d 850; Condon v State of New York, 193 AD2d 874).
In order to prevail on his claim, claimant must show: the existence of a foreseeably dangerous condition; that the State created the condition or had either actual or constructive notice of the condition; that the State failed to remedy the condition within a reasonable time; that such condition was the proximate cause of claimant's accident; and that claimant sustained damages (
see Gordon v American Museum of Natural History, 67 NY2d 836; Ligon v Waldbaum Inc., 234 AD2d 347; Mercer v City of NewYork, 223 AD2d 688, affd 88 NY2d 955).
In the instant case,
claimant has not established that defendant failed to remedy the condition within a reasonable period of time; therefore there can be no finding of negligence against the State. Rather, the evidence established that, despite claimant's awareness of the defect, he climbed into the bed instead of waiting a reasonable amount of time for defendant to address the problem. Under these circumstances, the Court finds that claimant failed to use ordinary care and must take responsibility for his own negligence (see Carter v State of New York, 194 AD2d 967).
Defendant's motion to dismiss, upon which decision was reserved, is now GRANTED.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 103747.


July 26, 2002
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims