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New York Prisoner Awarded $579,000 For Untreated Knee Injury

In October 1998, a New York court of claims awarded a state prisoner
$579,000 for a knee injury that went untreated.

While playing basketball, the plaintiff, a 33-year-old prisoner, heard a
pop in his knee. He was carried to the prison infirmary where a nurse gave
him ice, an ace bandage, and crutches. Two days later the plaintiff saw a
doctor who allegedly performed no examination and waited six weeks before
referring him to an orthopedic surgeon.

A subsequent surgery to repair a ruptured infrapatellar tendon was
unsuccessful. The plaintiff now has difficulty walking on uneven surfaces,
bending and crouching, and climbing and descending stairs. Further, the
plaintiff has an abnormal gait, his knees buckle, and he is at risk of
fracture if he falls. The plaintiff claimed medical expenses of $8,000 to

Before his injury, the plaintiff worked at a sewer cleaning company earning
$14 to $15 per hour. Now, the plaintiff claims, he will be limited to
supervisory work which pays $10 per hour.

A jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him $579,000. See: Kelly v. New
York, 13 ATLA PNLR 150 (NY 1998).

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Related legal case

Kelly v. New York