New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MASON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-019-038, Claim No. 101423


Synopsis


Bench decision rendered dismissing claimant's cause of action alleging use of excessive force by correction officers.

Case Information

UID:
2005-019-038
Claimant(s):
ROBERT MASON
Claimant short name:
MASON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
101423
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
ROBERT MASON, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Geoffrey B. Rossi, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
November 16, 2005
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant, Robert Mason, a pro se inmate, alleges that Southport Correctional Facility correction officers used excessive force against him resulting in various personal injuries on September 28, 1999. The trial of this matter was held on November 15, 2005 in the Court of Claims courtroom in the Binghamton District.


Claimant offered his own testimony in support of his claim, as well as a videotape of this incident.[1]
Claimant testified that several correction officers assaulted him when he was exiting his cell. At the close of claimant's proof, the State offered the testimony of Sergeant Terry Cleveland and Correction Officers Paul Weed and James Moss who sufficiently refuted the allegations of claimant. More specifically, Officer Moss testified that claimant disobeyed direct orders of the officers while exiting his cell. The court found the testimony of Correction Officer Moss to be more credible than claimant. Further, the court found that claimant disobeyed the direct orders of the officers and in so doing acted in a direct and threatening manner.

Consequently, at the conclusion of the trial, a decision was rendered on the record dismissing the claim and finding that the use of force in this case by the correction officers involved was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.


Parenthetically, the court noted on the record that even if the correction officers had been found to have used excessive force in this instance, claimant failed to establish that he suffered any injuries as a result. The State offered the testimony of Robert Brandt, a registered nurse at Southport Correctional Facility, to address the issue of claimant's injuries, if any, resulting from such conduct. Nurse Brandt testified that upon a physical examination immediately following this incident, claimant demonstrated no bruises, cuts or other injuries. Claimant offered no medical proof to the contrary. As such, even were the court to credit claimant's testimony regarding the use of force, no medical evidence was submitted to substantiate any resulting injury.


Accordingly, based upon the findings of fact and conclusions of law placed on the record by the court, Claim No. 101423 should be and hereby is DISMISSED.


Any and all motions on which the court may have previously reserved or which were not previously determined, are hereby denied.


ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.


November 16, 2005
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]The court viewed the videotape during trial but found the same to be inconclusive due to the stop and go nature of the same.