New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LOGAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-010-052, Claim No. 102794


Synopsis


Inmate claimant, who sought damages for injuries sustained when he was stabbed by an unknown assailant, did not establish any basis for finding defendant liable for the alleged attack.

Case Information

UID:
2002-010-052
Claimant(s):
LONELL LOGAN The Court has, sua sponte, amended the caption to reflect the only proper party defendant.
Claimant short name:
LOGAN
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):
102794
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
LONELL LOGANPro 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:
October 30, 2002
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant seeks damages for injuries he sustained on June 28, 2000, during his incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, when he was stabbed by an unknown assailant. Claimant testified that he was returning to his cell at the time of the incident and that there was no correction officer in the vicinity. This claim was heard in a unified trial.
It is well settled that the State is required to use reasonable care to protect the inmates of its correctional facilities from foreseeable risk of harm (
see Flaherty v State of New York, 296 NY 342; Dizak v State of New York, 124 AD2d 329; Sebastiano v State of New York, 112 AD2d 562). Foreseeable risk of harm includes the risk of attack by other prisoners (see Littlejohn v State of New York, 218 AD2d 833). However, "[t]he State is not an insurer of inmate safety; its duty is to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable attacks by other inmates" (Padgett v State of New York, 163 AD2d 914). The mere occurrence of an unprovoked, unexplained attack by a fellow inmate, with whom claimant had no prior contact, does not give rise to an inference of negligence, absent a showing that prison officials had notice of a foreseeable dangerous situation (see Stanley v State of New York, 239 AD2d 700; Roudette v State of New York, 224 AD2d 808; Leibach v State of New York, 215 AD2d 978; Padgett v State of New York, supra). Nor does the mere fact that a correction officer may not have been present when an assault occurred give rise to an inference of negligence, absent a showing that prison officials had notice of a foreseeable dangerous situation (see Sanchez v State of New York, 288 AD2d 647, 649; Colon v State of New York, 209 AD2d 842, 844).
To establish liability in an inmate assault case, claimant must demonstrate one of the following: (1) the State knew that claimant was at risk of being assaulted and yet failed to provide claimant with reasonable protection (
see Sebastiano v State of New York, supra); (2) the assailant was particularly known to the State to be prone to perpetrating such an assault and the State did not take proper precautionary measures (see Wilson v State of New York, 36 AD2d 559); or (3) the State had ample notice and opportunity to intervene but did not act (see Huertas v State of New York, 84 AD2d 650). Claimant has failed to establish any basis for finding defendant liable for the alleged attack.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 102794.

October 30, 2002
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims