New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SEYMOUR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-029-004, Claim No. None, Motion No. M-74162


Synopsis


Inmate claimant’s motion for permission to late file claim alleging medical malpractice was unnecessary due to application fo continuous treatment rule and claimant’s service of a notice of intention to file a claim. Accordingly, motion was granted, without analysis under Court of Claims Act section 10(6), to the extent that claimant was directed to serve and file his claim.

Case Information

UID:
2008-029-004
Claimant(s):
JONAH T. SEYMOUR, JR.
Claimant short name:
SEYMOUR
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
None
Motion number(s):
M-74162
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
STEPHEN J. MIGNANO
Claimant’s attorney:
JONAH T. SEYMOUR, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO, ATTORNEY GENERALBy: Dennis M. Acton, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
February 1, 2008
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

This is claimant’s motion for permission to file a late claim, based on defendant’s alleged “deliberate and intentional denial of medical care” for an injured finger he sustained in a basketball game at Shawangunk Correctional Facility on November 30, 2006.

According to claimant’s allegations, which are not disputed by defendant and which are accepted as true for the purpose of this motion, he was originally taken to sick call at about 8:45 p.m., after injuring his finger while blocking a shot, and was seen by a nurse who applied a splint. He was also seen by a nurse the next day, a Friday, but did not see a doctor or have an X-ray taken until three days later. On December 6, claimant filed a grievance alleging he was not being given proper medical attention. That grievance was denied, with the Shawangunk Superintendent finding that claimant’s treatment was “consistent with the protocols for his injury” (Exhibit 3). On January 31, 2007, claimant’s appeal from that decision was denied, based on the lack of “evidence of staff negligence or a violation of rights” (id.).

On December 12, a doctor informed claimant of the X-ray results, prescribed Naproxen and told him he would be seen by a specialist. On January 17, 2007, claimant was seen by an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Arliss, who discontinued the medication and splint. On February 28, 2007, Dr. Arliss told claimant that he had torn ligaments, would require physical therapy and prescribed Ibuprofen. Claimant alleges he suffered severe pain, swelling and numbness throughout this period.

On March 22, 2007, claimant served a notice of intention to file a claim on defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice of intention details the treatment he had received to date and alleges that such treatment was inadequate.

On June 6, 2007, Dr. Arliss again told claimant he had torn ligaments and discontinued the physical therapy and medication because they were not helping. On August 3, 2007, claimant was seen by Dr. Rubinovich who examined his injury and told claimant he was referring him to a surgeon.

Claimant’s allegations are generally supported by the excerpts from his medical records submitted as part of his application. In particular, Dr. Rubinovich wrote on August 3, 2007 that claimant “had a dislocation of the PIP joint which he reduced on his own . . . I think that he has definitely got a neurapraxia of his nerve down the lateral border of his finger. Additionally, he may have some extensor tendon damage. This is beyond my level of expertise. I would appreciate him seeing one of the hand specialists for further consultation” (Exhibit 7).

The basis of the proposed claim is the allegation that defendant’s employees failed to render proper and adequate treatment for his injury from the commencement of that treatment throughout the period referenced in the proposed claim. Defendant does not dispute that it was served with claimant’s notice of intention on March 22, 2007, a fact that is in any event proven by claimant’s submission of the stamped receipt for his certified mailing on that date. The contents of that document clearly set forth claimant’s allegations with sufficient detail so as to provide the opportunity for a prompt and thorough investigation. Lepkowski v State of New York (1 NY3d 201 [2003]). There is no question that claimant does not need the court’s permission to file his claim insofar is it pertains to allegations of wrongdoing within 90 days prior to such service. The issue is whether he needs such permission with respect to his allegations regarding the three-week period between December 1, 2006 and December 22, 2006.

What claimant alleges in his notice of intention and proposed claim is a “course of treatment...[that] has run continuously and is related to the same original condition or complaint.” Borgia v City of New York (12 NY2d 151, 155 [1962]); see also Young v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. (91 NY2d 291 [1998]); Ogle v State of New York (142 AD2d 37 [3d Dept 1988]). Thus, commencement of the time period in which claimant could timely commence an action, without regard to analysis under §10(6), was tolled and his service of the notice of intention on March 22, 2007 “was timely under the continuous treatment rule.” Robinson v State of New York (35 AD3d 948 [3d Dept 2006]). In Robinson, a pro se inmate who did not appreciate the application of the continuous treatment rule made a motion for permission to late file. The Third Department noted that the motion was “unnecessary and he should have been directed to file the claim” (id. 949).

Accordingly, there is no need to evaluate claimant’s application pursuant to the standards of §10(6). He served an adequate and timely notice of intention to file a claim by a method authorized by statute. The motion is granted to the extent that claimant is directed to serve and file his claim (the proposed claim attached to the notice of motion, duly verified on October 23, 2007) in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Court of Claims Act and the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims, with particular reference to manner of service and payment or application for reduction of the filing fee.



February 1, 2008
White Plains, New York

HON. STEPHEN J. MIGNANO
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers considered:


Motion for Permission to File a Late Claim and Annexed Exhibits.

Affidavit in Opposition.