New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department
Detainment in prison
Medical malpractice – General Municipal Law – Statute of limitations
Prezioso v. County of Niagara, et al.
Appealed from Supreme Court, Niagara County
Background: The plaintiff commenced an action asserting violations of his civil rights and negligence. The plaintiff was arrested and confined in a jail for 12 days without legal justification. He alleged that during this time he was provided inadequate medical care, which resulted in his health deteriorating. The defendant psychiatrist appealed from the denial of her motion to dismiss.
Ruling: The Appellate Division held that the court ought to have dismissed the case. The defendant psychiatrist met her burden by demonstrating that the jail is a public institution within the meaning of the General Municipal Law and that she did not receive compensation for her medical services from any persons detained in the jail. Thus, she fell within the ambit of the General Municipal Law setting forth the statute of limitations for negligence and malpractice to one year and 90 days after the plaintiff’s date of release from the jail. The Appellate Division affirmed the order denying dismissal of the plaintiff’s civil rights claims as the plaintiff’s medical history and the information available at the time, the failure to provide him with the appropriate dose of his prescribed medication was sufficiently serious. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the county had a deliberate policy and a pattern of conduct to provide inadequate medical care to persons detained in jail.
Brian P. Crosby, of Gibson, Mcaskill & Crosby, and Katherine V. Markel, of Ricotta, Mattrey, Callocchia, Markel & Cassert, for the defendants-appellants; Christopher M. Pannozzo, of O’Brien & Ford, for the plaintiff-respondent.