New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ARMSTRONG v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-016-052, Claim No. 110967, Motion No. M-73796


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:
Ofodile & Associates, P.C.By: Anthony C. Ofodile, Esq.
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Lea La Ferlita, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
November 30, 2007
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Defendant moves to dismiss the claim of Charles Armstrong, in which it is alleged that because defendant failed to provide claimant with a safe method such as a ladder to ascend and descend from his top bunk at Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, Mr. Armstrong fell and injured himself on February 23, 2005. First, defendant argues that the claim is jurisdictionally defective in that it fails to comply with the particularity provisions of §11.b of the Court of Claims Act. Specifically, defendant contends that Armstrong fails to properly set forth the nature of the claim, in that it does not adequately allege the manner in which the State was negligent.[1] Such argument is unavailing. Claimant must be specific enough to “‘enable the State to be able to investigate the claim promptly and to ascertain its liability under the circumstances.’” Triani v State of New York, 2007 WL 3196768 (2d Dept 2007). In this case, the claim specifically states that defendant failed to provide safe and adequate means of access to the top bunk, and instead required claimant to use the “unsafe practices recommended by [defendant, i.e.,] to climb upon a chair or locker . . .”

Defendant’s argument that the claim fails to state a cause of action is also unpersuasive as it is well established that the State must use reasonable care to protect inmates from the foreseeable risk of harm. See, e.g., Sanchez v State of New York, 99 NY2d 247, 754 NYS2d 621 (2002). While the failure to provide a ladder may not be in and of itself negligent, issues of fact remain as to whether the method provided to claimant to access his bunk was safe or appropriate.

Accordingly, having reviewed the submissions[2], IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-73796 be denied.

November 30, 2007
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]Defendant also argues that the claim does not comply with §206.6 of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims, which requires a schedule of damages, however defendant has supplied no authority that such requirement is jurisdictional in nature.
  2. [2]The following were reviewed: defendant’s notice of motion with affirmation in support and exhibits A through C; claimant’s affirmation in opposition with exhibits 1 through 8; and defendant’s reply affirmation.