New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HALL v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-018-166, Claim No. 105158


Synopsis


Defendant's motion to dismiss at the close of claimant's case granted for lack of expert testimony, and it was not established that claimant suffered any injury as a result of the alleged untimely release of claimant from the infirmary.

Case Information

UID:
2002-018-166
Claimant(s):
LARRY HALL
Claimant short name:
HALL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105158
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant's attorney:
LARRY HALLPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: G. LAWRENCE DILLON, ESQUIREAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 28, 2002
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision
Claimant seeks damages from the State for medical malpractice which occurred while an inmate at Riverview Correctional Facility[1]
(hereinafter Riverview). There are some discrepancies in claimant's testimony regarding which day he originally went to sick-call; but the medical records admitted into evidence indicate that he had pain and swelling in his left leg on January 22, 2001. According to the records in evidence, claimant was admitted to the infirmary on that date for observation and was to be evaluated by the doctor.
Claimant testified that over his objection and on January 24, 2001, he was allegedly inappropriately released from the infirmary. Claimant asserts he returned to the infirmary that day, and was admitted for approximately seven days at which time he was provided with medication, bed rest, and other treatment for his swollen leg. Claimant asserts that the State improperly discharged him from the infirmary on January 24, 2001, only to readmit him.

The State moved to dismiss the claim after claimant's testimony. The Court now grants that motion. Where the basis for the claim is improper care from a medical provider, a party may proceed under a theory of simple negligence or medical malpractice. However, where the claim asserts wrongdoing which cannot be determined based upon common knowledge, it falls within the more particularized category of medical malpractice (
Hale v State of New York, 53 AD2d, 1025, lv denied 40 NY2d 804; Nunez v State of New York, Ct Cl, unpublished decision J. Benza filed September 30 1998, Claim No 93260). Whether claimant was improperly released from the infirmary based upon the symptoms he had on January 24, 2001 is not a determination which can be made solely on common knowledge.
In order to establish a cause of action for medical malpractice, it is claimant's burden to prove by expert testimony that the medical staff at Riverview either did not possess the requisite knowledge and skill ordinarily found in the medical community, or neglected to use reasonable care in applying that knowledge and skill, and that the State's lack of knowledge and skill or reasonable care resulted in claimant's injuries. (
Pike v Honsinger, 155 NY 201; Lyons v McCauley, 252 AD2d 516, 517, lv denied 92 NY2d 814; Marchione v State of New York, 194 AD2d 851, 854-855; Nunez, supra). Here claimant has failed to present expert testimony, and as a result, there has been no showing that the care claimant received deviated from accepted standards. Moreover, claimant has not established that he suffered any injury as a result of the State's alleged untimely release from the infirmary.
The claim is DISMISSED. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


August 28, 2002
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]In the claim it is asserted that the State's wrongdoing involved intentional acts; however, upon review of the allegations in the claim and the testimony at trial, the cause of action sounds in medical malpractice (Werner v Katal Country Club, 234 AD2d 659, 661).