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N.Y. Guard's Informing Prisoner's Wife of Another Woman's Visit Ruled Unintentional, Harmless

New York state prisoner Alex Torres filed suit after a prison visitation guard informed his wife that another woman had visited him, resulting in his divorce. The court dismissed his claim, holding that Torres had failed to establish intent and that no privacy violation existed.

While visiting Torres at the Wende Correctional Facility, Elizabeth Figueroa was told of the other woman's visit, provided with a photocopy of the visitation report, and informed that the woman was not one of Torres’ relatives. The visits by Figueroa ceased and she initiated divorce proceedings. Torres brought suit against the State of New York for constitutional violations of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The state filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted.

A New York State Court of Claims judge dismissed the constitutional claims for lack of jurisdiction. The court then dismissed the remainder of Torres’ claims, finding that the guard had been disciplined, that the violation of Title 7, Part 51.1 by the guard did not violate Torres' privacy, and that no cause of action was presented. See: Torres v. New York, 13 Misc.3d 574, 820 N.Y.S.2d 874 (N.Y.Ct.Cl., 2006).

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Related legal case

Torres v. New York