New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
SMITH v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-045-001, Claim No. 128817, Motion No. M-90985

Synopsis

Inmate summary judgment motion alleging inmate assaulted by another inmate at the facility.

Case information

UID: 2018-045-001
Claimant(s): KELSEY SMITH
Claimant short name: SMITH
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 128817
Motion number(s): M-90985
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: GINA M. LOPEZ-SUMMA
Claimant's attorney: Kelsey Smith, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Hon. Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General
By: J. Gardner Ryan, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: January 16, 2018
City: Hauppauge
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on this motion: Claimant's Motion for Summary Judgment with annexed Exhibits A and B; Claimant's Memorandum of Law; Defendant's Affirmation with annexed Exhibit 1; and the Filed Claim.

Claimant, Kelsey Smith, a pro se inmate, moves this Court for an order pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) 3212 granting summary judgment in his favor.

Claimant filed a claim in which he alleged that on April 1, 2016 he was secured in mechanical restraints on a New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision transportation bus. At that time, claimant was waiting to exit the bus when an unknown inmate was able to remove his handcuffs in order to attack claimant with an unknown sharp object causing a 12 centimeter laceration to the left side of claimant's face.

As the party seeking summary judgment, claimant must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, by offering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issues of fact from the case (Cox v Kingsboro Medical Group, 88 NY2d 904 [1996]; Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851 [1985]; Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557 [1980]). Failure to make a prima facie showing requires denial of summary judgment, regardless of the sufficiency of the opposing papers (Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Center, 64 NY2d 851, 853, [1985]). Once the proponent of a summary judgment motion establishes a prima facie showing then the burden shifts to the opposing party to produce evidentiary proof in admissible form sufficient to demonstrate the existence of material issues of fact which require a trial of action (Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557, 562

[1980]).

The State owes a duty of care to safeguard inmates, however, that duty does not render the State an insurer of inmate safety (Sanchez v State of New York, 99 NY2d 247 [2002]). In order to establish that defendant is liable for the assault, claimant must prove that the State knew or should have known there was a risk of harm to claimant which was reasonably foreseeable and which the State could have reasonably prevented under the circumstances (id.).

Claimant failed to establish as a matter of law that defendant was negligent and failed to provide claimant with reasonable protection against foreseeable attacks by other inmates or that defendant was otherwise negligent.

Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, claimant's motion is denied.

January 16, 2018

Hauppauge, New York

GINA M. LOPEZ-SUMMA

Judge of the Court of Claims