Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

New York Pays State Prisoner $1,100 for Disregarding Work Restrictions

On March 31, 2006, a court of claims in Rochester, New York, awarded $1,100 to a state prisoner who was forced to pick up a laundry bag despite a work restriction prohibiting such activity.

Plaintiff Stephen Gagne claimed that on November 22, 1999, medical staff at the Wende, New York, Correctional Facility where he was imprisoned restricted him from performing physical labor. Despite the restriction, Gagne claimed that on July 27, 2000, a guard ordered him to pick up a laundry bag weighing between 30 and 50 pounds as part of his porter duties. Gagne refused, and, according to the complaint, he received a misbehavior report. As a result Gagne was placed in keeplock for 10 days.
In a separate incident, Gagne alleged on August 14, 2000, he was forbidden from using his cane on the recreation yard.

Gagne sued the New York Department of Correctional Services (NYDCS), pro se, claiming wrongful confinement and permanent physical and mental injuries.

Judge Philip J. Patti found that, because the guard who ordered Gagne to pick up the laundry bag was aware of his restrictions, the state was liable for Gagne?s injuries that resulted from that incident. Patti also held that a guard may not override a medical restriction and that Gagne should have been allowed to use his cane on the recreation yard. Patti denied Gagne?s claim of wrongful confinement holding that since he was ultimately found not guilty of the misbehavior report this claim was not actionable.

Consequently, Patti made Gagne a single award of $1,100 for past and future pain and suffering. See: Gagne v. The State of New York, Rochester Court of Claims, Case No. 103202.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Gagne v. The State of New York