New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SIMS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-016-105, Claim No. 103195


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

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

Cross-motion number(s):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Robert Sims
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: James E. Shoemaker, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 22, 2002
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

This is the claim of Robert Sims, which is for negligence and medical malpractice in connection with medication Mr. Sims allegedly did not receive at Sullivan Correctional Facility. The claim was tried at Sullivan,[1]
where Mr. Sims testified on his own behalf and defendant called nurse Sharon J. Lilley.
Claimant testified that on August 14, 2000, he was transferred to Sullivan Correctional Facility in connection with a court date. He added that prior to the trip, he had been taking pain medication for his back, foot and "different parts of my body." According to Sims, he also had been taking medication for a lactose intolerance condition, the existence of which condition defendant does not dispute. Claimant explained that he needs the medication in order to drink milk products, adding that "I get very sick if I don't have it." He recalled that before his trip, he was told by personnel at Attica Correctional Facility that his medication would be forwarded to Sullivan.

Sims maintains that after arriving at Sullivan, he was provided with no pain medication for the period of August 14-16, 2000 and no lactose intolerance medication for the period of August 14-18, 2000.

With regard to his lactose intolerance, Sims complained that he was not "informed by the medical staff [at Sullivan] to stay away from dairy products" although he concedes that he was "aware not to eat dairy products." Claimant testified that on his first morning at Sullivan, he expected to be given his lactose medication, so he did drink milk for breakfast. He testified that thereafter, "I [had] gas, I would gag and do . . all the other stuff." He added that this interfered with his use of the yard; he did not go to the yard because he did not know whether he would have to use the bathroom. It was unclear from Sims' testimony how long this condition lasted or how long he refrained from using the yard.

Sims testified that after breakfast on the first day, he refrained from eating and "starved" because an alternative lactose intolerant menu was not made available to him. According to claimant, when he requested such a diet, the response was "[W]e will have to wait to try to establish that. But meantime . . . you're going to have [to] just not eat." He maintains that he didn't eat because the food offered him was all "milk product[s] that I can't touch." However, he conceded that he did eat cereal, greens, vegetables and rice while at Sullivan.

Claimant recalled that he wrote letters of complaint on August 16, 17 and 18, 2000. See claimant's exhibit 2. In such letters, he complains that he is not being provided with his medications and complains that he has ongoing pain which interferes with his daily activities and prevents him from sleeping.
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Nurse Sharon J. Lilley testified that she worked at Sullivan at all relevant times and recalled claimant's August 2000 stay there. She explained that when an inmate comes in from another facility, the medical department is made aware of his prescribed medication "[t]hrough [a] transportation summary . . ." which travels with the inmate.

Reviewing claimant's exhibit 1 transportation summary, Lilley confirmed that upon Sims' arrival on August 14, 2000, the medical staff was made aware that he was lactose intolerant and taking pain medication, specifically Percogesic and Zantac.

Such document also lists the dates and times upon which medication is administered to an inmate. In reviewing exhibit 1, Lilley noted that it contained no listing of medication administered to claimant at Sullivan; after an apparent administration of medication at Attica on the morning of August 14, the exhibit contains no records for the days on which claimant complains he received no medication.[2]
Sims argues that this demonstrates he was not in fact given his medication for such period, stating that the transportation summary he submitted as exhibit 1 contains all such records provided to him by defendant during discovery (and in response to a Freedom of Information Law request). Defendant was provided with an opportunity to submit, within 30 days after trial, additional records for the missing period, should such records exist, but failed to do so.
Lilley testified that after Sims' letters of complaint, she wrote an August 29, 2000 memorandum concerning Sims and his medication. See defendant's exhibit A, which states in relevant part:
I am in receipt of two letters written to the Superintendent and a grievance submitted by [claimant].

Inmate Sims was transferred to Sullivan C.F. for court purposes. His facility did not send his one to one medication with him. He was taking three medications, two of which we were able to supply from stock medication. The medications supplied were Percogesic and Zantac which are used for pain control. The third was Lactalose, which he was advised we did not have, and that he should refrain from ingesting dairy substances to the extent possible while at Sullivan C.F.

It was anticipated that he would only be at Sullivan C. F. for only a few days.

It was unclear from Lilley's testimony or her memorandum on which dates claimant received his medication.
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Mr. Sims failed to offer any expert medical testimony that accepted standards of medical care were not met in this case; such would be required for him to prevail.
Lyons v McCauley, 252 AD2d 516, 675 NYS2d 375 (2d Dept 1998), lv denied 92 NY2d 814, 681 NYS2d 475 (1998). Specifically, he provided no expert medical testimony concerning the stoppage of the medications he was taking for the subject period and the effects thereof. For the foregoing reasons, claim no. 103195 is dismissed.

October 22, 2002
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]The exhibits introduced at the trial of this claim were destroyed at the Court's 5 World Trade Center Chambers on September 11, 2001. Subsequent thereto, the parties submitted duplicates. With respect to claimant's exhibit 1, claimant's submission contained an additional page not contained in defendant's submission, entitled "Health Transfer Information Pursuant to Section 501 . . . Correction Law." As the information contained on this page is not in dispute in this case, defendant will not be prejudiced, and such page will be considered as included in claimant's exhibit 1. With respect to claimant's exhibit 2, claimant's submission contained an additional page not contained in defendant's submission, a memorandum from the Sullivan Correctional Facility Superintendent to claimant in response to claimant's letters of complaint. As the information contained in this memorandum is not relevant to the issues in this case, defendant will not be prejudiced, and such page will be considered as included in claimant's exhibit 2.
  2. [2]There is a listing for August 22 and 23.