New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CRUZ v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-018-333, Claim No. 103985


Synopsis


Claim dismissed - no expert testimony.

Case Information

UID:
2004-018-333
Claimant(s):
RICARDO CRUZ
Claimant short name:
CRUZ
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103985
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant's attorney:
RICARDO CRUZPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: HEATHER R. RUBINSTEIN, ESQUIREAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 22, 2004
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant seeks damages for allegedly improper medical treatment he received at University Hospital. Claimant testified that on July 7, 1999, he had fusion surgery to his right little (pinky) finger at University Hospital. Beginning in January of 2000, Claimant attended sick call at Gouverneur Correctional Facility (hereinafter GCF) complaining that his right pinky finger was hot, "on fire."[1]
He was thereafter transported to University Hospital again, where surgery was performed on his little finger to address the infection. Claimant testified that metal rods were placed in his finger during the first surgery on July 7, 1999, and that those rods were cutting into the tissue causing an infection. This second surgery, on February 4, 2000, involved removing the metal hardware in his little finger and treating the raging infection.
Claimant attributed the infection and second surgery to University Hospital's failure to provide follow-up care after the July 7, 1999 surgery. Claimant testified that, as a result, he has lost 50% of the movement in his finger. He cannot lift heavy objects so he cannot work. His finger continues to bother him.

On cross-examination, Claimant acknowledged that he had a prior surgery on his right hand but denies that it involved his right pinky finger. He testified that this other surgery was "a success".

To establish a cause of action for failure to provide proper medical care, there must be proof to establish what the proper treatment for the condition should have been, how the State failed to provide this treatment, and what injuries were caused by the improper medical care (
see, Kramer v Rosenthal 224 AD2d 392; Bloom v City of New York, 202 AD2d 465; Pike v Honsinger, 155 NY 201). How the fusion surgery for Claimant's right pinky finger should have been performed, what University Hospital did wrong, and how the infection and Claimant's limited use was caused by the State's wrongdoing is not within the common knowledge of the Court or Claimant. Expert medical testimony was necessary to establish these critical factors (see Mosberg v Elahi, 80 NY2d 941; Schuller v Martinelli, 304 AD2d 967). Claimant did not provide any expert testimony; and as a result, Defendant's motion to dismiss must be granted. The claim is DISMISSED. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

September 22, 2004
Syracuse, New York

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




[1]All quotes are from the recorded trial testimony unless otherwise noted.