New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TROTTIE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-032-504, Claim No. 105826


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):

Claimant's attorney:
William K. Trottie, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney GeneralBy: Michael C. Rizzo, Assistant Attorney General, Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 21, 2006

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

Claimant alleges an action for medical malpractice and medical negligence for the failure by prison medical employees to timely diagnose a stomach ailment that required surgery. The only proof claimant produced at trial was his own testimony and his medical records. No expert testified in support of claimant's case. His testimony reiterated his medical records. His medical records (Exhibit 1) provide that on August 17, 2000, he complained of stomach pains at night.[1]
It was noted that if the pain continued, claimant would be referred to Dr. Evelyn Weisman, the prison physician. Claimant was seen again on August 22, 2000 for complaints of gas, bloating and constipation for which he received Maalox and a blood test for h-pylori was ordered. There is nothing in the medical records that explains h-pylori or why such a test was needed. On September 19, 2000 claimant was given biaxin and prilosec because the h-pylori test was positive. It was written that a follow-up appointment would occur in 3 weeks. On October 13, 2000, the prilosec was changed to prevacid. On November 16, 2000, claimant was seen for athlete's foot and no stomach complaints were noted. On December 5, 2000, he was transferred to Upstate Correctional Facility. On December 26, 2000, claimant stopped a health care professional dispensing medications in the gallery and complained of blood in his stool. He was advised to sign up for sick call the next morning which he did not do. The next medical record, dated December 30, 2000, indicated that claimant gave a nurse a feces sample in an open milk carton which was red in color and tested positive for blood. He was admitted to the infirmary, and sent to Alice Hyde Hospital, where he underwent surgery early in 2001.
A recent decision by the Third Department is directly on point.[2]
"Whether the claim is grounded in negligence or medical malpractice, ‘[w]here medical issues are not within the ordinary experience and knowledge of lay persons, expert medical opinion is a required element of a prima facie case."' (Tatta v State of New York, 19 AD3d 817 [3d Dept. 2005]; Wells v State of New York, 228 AD2d 581 [1996], lv denied 88 NY2d 814 [1996]; see Duffen v State of New York, 245 AD2d 653 [1997], lv denied 91 NY2d 810 [1998]). In the instant case, the failure to present any testimony on the effects that any alleged delay or the prescribed treatment had on claimant's ultimate surgery is fatal. Such facts are outside the ordinary experience and knowledge of a layperson (Tatta v State of New York, supra; Henry v Cobleskill-Richmondville Cent. School Dist., 13 AD3d 968 [3d Dept 2004]; Martin v Wilson Mem. Hosp., 2 AD3d 938 [3d Dept 2003]).
The case is dismissed. All motions not heretofore ruled upon are denied.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

March 21, 2006
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

[1]The signature of the facility's health care professional is unidentifiable on all these entries.
[2]At trial, claimant maintained that the protocols referred to in Kagan v State of New York, 221 AD2d 7 (2d Dept 1996) applied to his case. Those protocols were specifically adopted by Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Claimant did not refer to or produce any protocols adopted by Upstate Correctional Facility or the prison (unnamed in the papers) that he was housed in immediately preceding Upstate Correctional Facility.