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Pilot Light Burn Nets NY Prisoner $225

A New York State court of claims judge found the New York
Department of Correctional Services (DCS) negligent in training and
supervising a prisoner who sustained first-degree burns. The court
awarded only $225 for past pain and suffering.

On July 15, 1999, DCS prisoner Israel Ocasio was working in the
prison kitchen. He was told to light a gas oven's pilot light, so he
ignited a piece of paper and leaned under the oven to direct the paper
toward the pilot light. The paper burst into flames, causing Ocasio to
sustain first-degree burns.

Ocasio brought a negligence action in state court, alleging
that he was not properly instructed in lighting the...pilot light, or
warned that doing so was dangerous.

The court agreed that the state did not adequately warn, instruct
or supervise Ocasio. The state's failure constituted negligence that
proximately caused Ocasio's...injuries. However, the court found those
injuries were relatively minor and on February 23, 2005, awarded just
$225 for past pain and suffering. See: Ocasio v. New York, court of
claims No 101143 (Rochester).

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Related legal case

Ocasio v. New York