New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

Crus v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-018-336, Claim No. 91747


Synopsis


Claimant failed to prove that the State was negligent and that such negligence was the proximate cause of Claimant's injury. The claim is DISMISSED.

Case Information

UID:
2004-018-336
Claimant(s):
BOB CRUS a/k/a LESTER BATTICE The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the fact that the Claimant is also known by the name of Lester Battice.
Claimant short name:
Crus
Footnote (claimant name) :
The Court has amended the caption sua sponte to reflect the fact that the Claimant is also known by the name of Lester Battice.
Defendant(s):
STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
91747
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant's attorney:
BOB CRUS a/k/a LESTER BATTICEPro 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 28, 2004
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant seeks damages from the State for injuries he sustained when he tripped over a cart in the kitchen area at Gouverneur Correctional Facility (hereinafter GCF). At trial, Claimant testified that on December 5, 1994, at approximately 5:15 a.m. he was working in the mess hall at GCF as a cook. He was in the process of setting up the front line which required him to remove items from a "walk-in box"[1]
and take them to the line to set them up for use. A correction officer was sitting on the correction officers' desk. After Claimant made four or five trips from the walk-in box to the line, he walked out of the walk-in box carrying a tray of cups and tripped over a flat bin cart which was in front of the correction officers' desk and oven. Claimant asserts that he could not see the cart because of the tray of cups.
Claimant was taken to the infirmary with a cut on his right leg. He was restricted from attending his program from December 5 through 16, and then was restricted from lifting more than 30 lbs. until January 24, 1995, due to back pain. Claimant contends the bin cart should have been removed from the walkway.

The State called Marilyn Buckley, the head cook at GCF since 1990. She testified that she supervises and directs inmates working in the mess hall to prepare and serve all the inmates' breakfast and lunch. She testified that she was familiar with the bin cart which is approximately six feet by four feet, on wheels, with a large handle. The bin cart is kept in a storeroom and used daily by inmates to move food from the storage room into the kitchen. After it is unloaded, it is moved into the hallway. The bin cart, according to Mrs. Buckley, should not have been where Claimant said it was. Mrs. Buckley also testified that Claimant should not have been carrying the tray of cups, the tray should have been transported to the front line using a utility cart, which is a smaller cart than the bin cart.

To be successful, Claimant must prove that the State was negligent and that such negligence was the proximate cause of Claimant's injury. The proof failed to show that any State employee used or moved the cart into the walkway; according to Mrs. Buckley, the inmates used the cart. Therefore, the Claim must be and hereby is DISMISSED. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


September 28, 2004
Syracuse, New York

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




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