New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ACKLEY v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-018-485, Claim No. 99213


Synopsis


Claimant failed to establish the State's negligence. Claim is dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2005-018-485
Claimant(s):
JOHN ACKLEY
Claimant short name:
ACKLEY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
99213
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant's attorney:
JOHN ACKLEYPro 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:
August 23, 2005
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant, an inmate, was injured on August 12, 1998, at approximately 4:30 p.m., while working in the vocational welding shop at Cape Vincent Correctional Facility. On that day new stock of steel sheets had arrived. They were 4' x 4' sheets of 14-gauge steel. The existing stock of these steel sheets were piled in a corner, not in a rack. Claimant was given a direct order to adjust the pile of steel sheets to make room for the new stock. Claimant testified that as he began moving the steel, approximately 40 sheets fell on his legs. He said that it took 10 men to remove the sheets.

Claimant testified that he could not walk for weeks and has been limping since the accident. He has pain in his legs and knees and some hip pain. He wants an MRI ordered to determine the extent of damage to his knees.

Claimant contends that the State was negligent in not securing the steel sheets in a rack.

When the State directs an inmate to participate in a work program during incarceration, it has the duty to provide the inmate with a reasonably safe workplace with reasonably safe equipment (Martinez v State of New York, 225 AD2d 877; Kandrach v State of New York, 188 AD2d 910). The State, however, is not an insurer and negligence cannot be inferred solely from the happening of an accident (Condon v State of New York, 193 AD2d 874). To establish the State's liability, Claimant must show that the condition which caused his injury was dangerous and the State either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition (Madrid v City of New York, 42 NY2d 1039; Bernard v Waldbaum, Inc., 232 AD2d 596).
Claimant has failed to establish the State's negligence in directing him to adjust a pile of steel sheets that were not in a rack. From Exhibit A, the Fire and Safety Memorandum Report of this accident, Claimant has failed to show that the fact that the steel sheets were not in a rack was a dangerous condition, or that the absence of the rack was the cause of the sheets falling.

Accordingly, Defendant's motion to dismiss made at the close of Claimant's case is hereby GRANTED. The claim is DISMISSED. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


August 23, 2005
Syracuse, New York

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