18 N.Y.2d 481, Williams v. State

Citation18 N.Y.2d 481, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885
Party NameWilliams v. State
Case DateDecember 29, 1966
CourtNew York Court of Appeals

Page 481

18 N.Y.2d 481

276 N.Y.S.2d 885

Frank WILLIAMS, as Guardian ad Litem of Christine Williams, an Infant, Appellant et al.

v.

STATE of New York, Respondent.

Claim No. 43856.

New York Court of Appeals

December 29, 1966.

[276 N.Y.S.2d 886] Benjamin H. Siff, Joseph Captain and Norman Roy Grutman, New York City, for appellant.

Page 482

Louis J. Lefkowitz, Atty. Gen. (Jeremiah Jochnowitz and Ruth Kessler Toch, Albany, of counsel), for respondent.

DESMOND, Chief Judge.

We are to decide whether the infant claimant Christine Williams (the claim of her mother Lorene Williams is not before us now) has alleged a sufficient cause of action against the State of New York. The claim asserts negligence of the State in the care and custody of the infant's mother while the latter was a partient at a State hospital for the mentally ill 'and more particularly in failing to provide adequate, sufficient and proper care and supervision over her while she was in the custody of the State and in negligently failing to protect and safeguard her health and physical body from attack and harm from others, which negligence resulted in the infant Christine Williams being conceived, being born and being born out of wedlock to a mentally deficient mother.' The theory of suit becomes clearer when we examine the paragraph where the particulars of claimant's damages are set out thus: as a result of this neglect of the State, the child has been 'deprived of property rights; deprived of a normal childhood and home life; deprived of proper parental care, support and rearing; caused to bear the stigma of illegitimacy'.

Page 483

No such theory of suit has ever before, it seems, been put forward in any court anywhere (the closest being Zepeda v. Zepeda, 41 Ill.App.2d 240, 190 N.E.2d 849, cert. den. 379 U.S. 945, 85 S.Ct. 444, 13 L.Ed.2d 545, of which more will be said hereafter). The Court of Claims Judge who heard the motion thought that this lack of precedent was not fatal, and that recovery of damages was possible since there had been a wrong by the State with resulting and reasonably to be anticipated harm to the child. The Appellate Division, reversing the Court ofClaims and dismissing the claim, rejected the idea that there could be an obligation of the State to a person not yet conceived and, secondly, the Appellate Division held that the 'damages' are not susceptible of ascertainment, resting...

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32 practice notes
  • 106 Cal.App.3d 811, 58192, Curlender v. Bio-Science Laboratories
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • June 11, 1980
    ...be formidable." (Zepeda, supra, 190 N.E.2d 849, 858.) (Emphasis added.) The Zepeda holding was followed in Williams v. State (1966) 18 N.Y.2d 481, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343. In Williams, plaintiff's mentally deficient mother was raped while in a state mental institution, under c......
  • 55 Cal.App.4th 110, A073452, Alexandria S. v. Pacific Fertility Medical Center, Inc.
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • May 21, 1997
    ...another because a parent has an unsavory reputation." (Id. at p. 260 [190 N.E.2d at p. 858].) Similarly, in Williams v. State (1966) 18 N.Y.2d 481 [276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343], a New York court refused to permit a child to sue for negligence, although the child was born as a resu......
  • 227 A.2d 689 (N.J. 1967), A--35, Gleitman v. Cosgrove
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court of New Jersey
    • March 6, 1967
    ...240, 190 N.E.2d 849 (App.Ct.1963), cert. denied 379 U.S. 945, 85 S.Ct. 444, 13 L.Ed.2d 545 (1964), and Williams v. State of New York, 18 N.Y.2d 481, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343 (Ct.App.1966). We hold that the first count of the complaint on behalf of Jeffrey Gleitman is not actionable ......
  • 14 N.Y.S.3d 388, 2015-05464, Taggart v. Costabile
    • United States
    • June 24, 2015
    ..." a psychic trauma negligently caused is as much a basis for damages as is a physical hurt" ( Williams v. State of New York, 18 N.Y.2d 481, 483, 223 N.E.2d 343, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, citing Battalla v. State of New York, 10 N.Y.2d 237, 176 N.E.2d 729, 219 N.Y.S.2d 34 and Ferrara v. Ga......
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32 cases
  • 106 Cal.App.3d 811, 58192, Curlender v. Bio-Science Laboratories
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • June 11, 1980
    ...be formidable." (Zepeda, supra, 190 N.E.2d 849, 858.) (Emphasis added.) The Zepeda holding was followed in Williams v. State (1966) 18 N.Y.2d 481, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343. In Williams, plaintiff's mentally deficient mother was raped while in a state mental institution, under c......
  • 55 Cal.App.4th 110, A073452, Alexandria S. v. Pacific Fertility Medical Center, Inc.
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • May 21, 1997
    ...another because a parent has an unsavory reputation." (Id. at p. 260 [190 N.E.2d at p. 858].) Similarly, in Williams v. State (1966) 18 N.Y.2d 481 [276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343], a New York court refused to permit a child to sue for negligence, although the child was born as a resu......
  • 227 A.2d 689 (N.J. 1967), A--35, Gleitman v. Cosgrove
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court of New Jersey
    • March 6, 1967
    ...240, 190 N.E.2d 849 (App.Ct.1963), cert. denied 379 U.S. 945, 85 S.Ct. 444, 13 L.Ed.2d 545 (1964), and Williams v. State of New York, 18 N.Y.2d 481, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, 223 N.E.2d 343 (Ct.App.1966). We hold that the first count of the complaint on behalf of Jeffrey Gleitman is not actionable ......
  • 14 N.Y.S.3d 388, 2015-05464, Taggart v. Costabile
    • United States
    • June 24, 2015
    ..." a psychic trauma negligently caused is as much a basis for damages as is a physical hurt" ( Williams v. State of New York, 18 N.Y.2d 481, 483, 223 N.E.2d 343, 276 N.Y.S.2d 885, citing Battalla v. State of New York, 10 N.Y.2d 237, 176 N.E.2d 729, 219 N.Y.S.2d 34 and Ferrara v. Ga......
  • Request a trial to view additional results