New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WORRILL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-016-064, Claim No. 106647


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

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

Cross-motion number(s):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant’s attorney:
Charlie Worrill, Pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Jeane Strickland-Smith, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 4, 2006
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

This decision follows the trial of the claim of Charlie Worrill, in which he alleges that he severely cut his hand at Mid-Orange Correctional Facility while using a circular saw which was “absent a safety guard.” Specifically, Mr. Worrill alleges that on June 21, 2002, he attempted to cut nylon line for a weed whacker and when he turned the saw on, “the saw whipped the cord,” causing it to cut his hand in four places.
At trial, claimant did not mention the absence of a safety guard, and he testified that it was someone else – not he – who had turned on the saw:
I was weed whacking . . the hill . . . I went in to change the . . . cord on the weed whacker. I didn’t know how to do it because that was the new one . . . The guy that generally [does] this . . . came out to help me and [we were] stringing the cord out and somebody came in and . . . asked me, “When you all finish, would you set this . . .saw up so we can cut these short boards?” We [were] making . . . police barricades, so I said “All right . . .” Then somebody [turned on] the saw . . and I didn’t pay it [any] mind and we were stringing the cord out and I had it wrapped around my hand and when they [turned] the saw on, the end of the cord got caught in that and it started slipping through my hand and cut me . . . it cut down in the tendons . . .

Worrill submitted a diagram which indicated that his two smallest fingers were cut (and that the nail of one such finger was lost), that he suffered a burn on his index finger and a cut by the thumb where two tendons were severed. See claimant’s exhibit 2. Following the incident, claimant was taken to the emergency room at St. Anthony’s Hospital for treatment.
On cross-examination, claimant testified that he had “received quite a bit of training” on various types of equipment, including the saw on which he injured his hand, which he conceded was intended for wood. He also admitted that using the saw to cut weed whacker line had not been part of his training, adding, “but you can, if the saw is not on, you can cut it on that,” explaining that he was essentially trying to use the saw as a knife, i.e., he was sliding the line back and forth on the saw while it was turned off, when someone else suddenly turned the saw on.
Worrill was issued a misbehavior report in connection with the accident for having misused the saw in attempting to cut a weed whacker line, to which charge he pled guilty. See defendant’s exhibit B.
* * *
In view of the foregoing, claimant has failed to present any credible evidence of negligence on the part of the State which caused his accident. Accordingly, claim no. 106647 is dismissed.

October 4, 2006
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims