New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-033-572, Claim No. 109526


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):

James J. Lack
Claimant’s attorney:
Andre Johnson, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney GeneralBy: Stephen J. Maher, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 22, 2007

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a claim filed for damages by Andre Johnson (hereinafter “claimant”) based upon the alleged negligence and medical malpractice while the claimant was incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Facility, Napanoch, New York.

Claimant testified on his own behalf that he took a shower on April 29, 2004, and noticed that the water was brown, so he got out of the shower. Approximately two days later, claimant said he began to notice a rash on parts of his body including his feet. Claimant went to the infirmary and received a topical cream to apply to the rash. According to claimant, the cream was not doing any good and he requested “pills he could take to work from the inside.” Claimant was not given any pills. On cross-examination, claimant admitted the rash eventually went away but claimant said it left some permanent damage.

Defendant moved at the end of the claimant’s case to dismiss the claim based upon the insufficiency of evidence to sustain the burden of proof. Defendant argues that claimant’s case is one of medical malpractice which is beyond the common knowledge of a lay witness, requiring expert testimony. In addition, defendant argues claimant failed to show any causal connection between the rusty/brown water and claimant’s rash. Claimant’s failure to provide such testimony, necessitates dismissal, according to the defendant.

The law will hold a defendant liable for medical malpractice if it fails to exercise reasonable care and diligence in the treatment of a patient (Snow v State of New York, 98 AD2d 442 aff’d 64 NY2d 745). Expert testimony is normally required to establish a prima facie case in a medical malpractice action (Tleige v Troy Pediatrics, 237 AD2d 772). Claimant’s failure to present any expert testimony results in his inability to prove a prima facie case. In addition, claimant has failed to provide any evidence to show a causal connection between the rusty/brown water and claimant’s rash.

The claim also contained another cause of action against defendant for failure to provide proper medical care in connection with surgery claimant had on his left knee. Claimant offered no testimony or evidence as to this cause of action.

Based upon the foregoing, the Court finds the claimant has failed to prove a prima facie case. Accordingly, the motion made by the defendant at the close of claimant’s case, to dismiss the claim for failure to prove a prima facie case is granted, and the claim is dismissed. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close the file. Any motions not specifically ruled upon are denied.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.

June 22, 2007
Hauppauge, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims