Roden v. State, No. 32617

CourtNew York Court of Claims
Writing for the CourtSYLVESTER
Citation147 N.Y.S.2d 96,208 Misc. 1076
Decision Date05 December 1955
Docket NumberNo. 32617
PartiesBenjamin RODEN, an incompetent, by his Guardian ad Litem Rose Roden, Claimant, v. The STATE of New York. Claim

Page 96

147 N.Y.S.2d 96
208 Misc. 1076
Benjamin RODEN, an incompetent, by his Guardian ad Litem
Rose Roden, Claimant,
The STATE of New York.
Claim No. 32617.
Court of Claims of New York.
Dec. 5, 1955.

E. & S. L. & E. Greenberg and M. Herman Mandel, New York City, by Erwin Greenberg, New York City, of counsel, for claimant.

Jacob K. Javits, Atty. Gen., by David Paley, Asst. Atty. Gen., of counsel, for the State of New York.

Page 97


The claimant, a patient at Creedmoor State Hospital, brings suit against the State for injuries sustained by him at the hospital on or about April 11, 1954, due, as he alleges, to the negligence of the State in respect of his supervision and care. On that day at 4 P.M. the claimant was confined in a seclusion room on Ward S-10 of the institution. At 5 P.M. all of the patients in the ward were likewise confined in seclusion except claimant and two others who were likewise confined in seclusion rooms. The hospital attendant Wright remained behind with the three secluded patients. The remaining attendants and patients returned to the ward from the dining room at 5:30 P.M. at which time attendant Wright completed his work for the day and went home. At 5:20 in the [208 Misc. 1077] morning of April 12, 1954, claimant called from his seclusion room to be let out. Attendant Cochrane, on duty at the time, opened the room and observed that claimant's chest was badly scratched and that there were marks on his face. Together with fractures of the nasal bone and rib, these injuries are claimed to have been sustained as a result of the alleged assault. The case was tried upon claimant's theory and assertion that he had been assaulted by attendant Wright who, it will be remembered, had left the building and gone home at 5:30 P.M. of the preceding day. Except for an entry in the hospital record presently to be considered, there is insufficient evidence to sustain a finding that claimant was attacked by the attendant Wright. Indeed, on the instant record, it would be pure speculation to attempt to name claimant's assailant or to account for the occurrence--or even to determine whether or not his wounds were self-inflicted. In this dilemma, counsel relies upon the testimony of a supervising psychiatrist of the institution who, referring to the hospital record, testified:

'The patient stated that he had been attacked by attendant Kansas City Wright at about 5:15 or 5:20 P.M. on April 11th, 1954 in his...

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