This claim allegedly arose in January 1992, while Claimant was an inmate at
Wende Correctional Facility. At that time, Claimant, who had suffered from
problems with his right knee for several years, was sent to Erie County Medical
Center (ECMC), where arthroscopic surgery was performed by a Dr. Stegemann.
Claimant continued to suffer pain and limitation in that knee but was told by
Dr. Stegemann that nothing more could be done. In August 1996, however, a
second surgery, which was performed at Albany Medical Center, relieved the
In his ECMC Operative Report (Exhibit A), Dr. Stegemann's note indicates that
the surgery performed was exploratory and that the knee was normal. This
conclusion contrasted an earlier diagnosis of a posterior tear, made on the
basis of x-rays that had been taken in 1991 when Claimant was incarcerated at
Elmira Correctional Facility. Claimant testified that Dr. Stegemann told him
his only problem was mild arthritis. In October 1995, an MRI confirmed the 1991
finding that there was a complex tear in Claimant's right knee, and a successful
operation was performed, as noted, in 1996. On cross-examination, Claimant
acknowledged that he was seen by a number of doctors, and had a number of
diagnostic tests -- including an arthrogram -- performed during 1990, 1991, and
At the close of Claimant's case, Defendant moved for dismissal on the ground
that the claim lies outside the jurisdiction of this Court. The only
allegations of malpractice relate to the actions and statements of Dr.
Stegemann, who treated Claimant only at ECMC. Dr. Stegemann is not an employee
of the State
, and ECMC is, as its name indicates, a County facility. It has been
established that when a prison inmate is referred to an outside physician who,
acting as an independent contractor, provides treatment only at outside
facilities not owned and operated by the State, any malpractice that occurs in
connection with such treatment does not give rise to a claim against the State
(Rivers v State of New York
, 159 AD2d 788, lv denied
NY2d 701; Williams v State of New York
, 164 Misc 2d 783;
, Soltis v State of New York
, 172 AD2d 919 [private
practitioner examined and treated inmates inside the correctional
There is no testimony or evidence that even suggests that Dr. Stegemann was a
State employee or that he treated Claimant at any location other than at ECMC.
On that ground, I must dismiss the claim.
Defendant's motion made at the close of Claimant's testimony and renewed at the
conclusion of its proof is hereby granted, and the claim is dismissed.
All other motions heretofore ruled upon are now denied.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.