New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BARKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-011-101, Claim No. 103081


Claim for injuries sustained while wearing mechanical restraints while being placed in a Special Housing Unit is dismissed.

Case Information

LLOYD E. BARKER The court sua sponte amends the caption to reflect the only properly named defendant
Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :
The court sua sponte amends the caption to reflect the only properly named defendant
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

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

Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Lloyd E. Barker, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Kevan J. Acton, Esq.,Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 11, 2002
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

The incident underlying the claim occurred on June 26, 2000 at Great Meadow Correctional Facility as claimant was being placed into a cell in the Special Housing Unit.

Claimant testified that when he was brought to his cell he was wearing mechanical restraints but the escorting officer did not have the key to remove them. Claimant was told to face the wall at the back of the cell while keys were retrieved which he did. According to claimant one of the officers began calling him and he backed up toward the gate of the cell. When he was about a step away from the gate inside the cell he turned in response to an order from the correction officer. As he turned the gate was being closed and the skin around his elbow was caught between the gate and the track that held it.

Correction Officer Timothy Hanlon testified that he received claimant into SHU and escorted him to his cell. He agreed that a key had to be retrieved to remove the mechanical restraints. According to Officer Hanlon as claimant stood inside the cell he became irritated because he saw that his personal property was not in the cell. Officer Hanlon testified that at that point claimant turned toward the officer. The move was viewed as an act of aggression and in response, Officer Hanlon grabbed the gate and pulled it shut. The officer also testified that he did not instruct claimant to turn around. Officer Hanlon agreed that some of the skin around claimant's elbow was pinched in the gate though he disagreed with claimant's testimony regarding the severity of the injury.

Claimant's testimony, if credited, could be interpreted as establishing liability based either on negligence or battery. The testimony of Officer Hanlon could exonerate the defendant of liability on the basis that closing the gate was a reasonable response to claimant's action of turning toward the officers without being instructed to do so.

The version of events offered by claimant offers no motive for the actions of Officer Hanlon which led to claimant's injuries whatever they were. The officer, however, testified that claimant became irritated when he saw that his property was not in the cell and claimant in his testimony acknowledged that while standing in the cell he realized his property was not there. Claimant also testified that a big cut was opened near his elbow and in his claim alleges that the injury required stitches but that only a bandaid was placed on it. Officer Hanlon testified that only a small cut resulted. In the absence of some reason as to why the officer would close the gate at the same time he instructed claimant to move into its path and considering the discrepancy between the injury claimant alleges and the treatment which apparently resolved it, the testimony of Officer Hanlon is credited. Accordingly, the claim is dismissed.


June 11, 2002
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims