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COA: State not liable for ex-patient’s attack

ALBANY — New York’s top court has rejected the negligence claim by a woman who was attacked by a former state patient two years after he walked away from the Manhattan Psychiatric Center.

The Court of Appeals, reversing a midlevel court, unanimously says Thursday the July 1995 attack on Jill Williams didn’t occur “within a reasonable length of time” from the alleged negligence of by New York’s Office of Mental Health, making the claim “too speculative.”

Williams and her husband sought $15 million after Tony Joseph threw a bottle at her, breaking her leg while she waited to cross a Manhattan street in 1993.

Joseph had been a voluntary patient at the center. He was assessed as not dangerous, classified as “left without consent,” and police weren’t notified.