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Prisoner's History of Protection and Notice of Danger Defeats Summary Judgment

The New York Court of Claims has denied prison officials' motion for summary judgment in a case alleging failure to protect. The plaintiff in this action, Clifford J. Faust, had been transported to four different prisons to protect him from Latin Kings gang members from September 1994 to September 1997.

Faust found disfavor with the Latin Kings because he had told guards that the gang intended to harm another prisoner. He was placed in voluntary protective custody at Franklin Correctional Facility.

He was thereafter transferred to Wyoming Correctional Facility. While there the Latin Kings learned who he was, resulting in his face being slashed. He was then transferred to Orleans Correctional Facility, where he informed guards the Latin Kings were hiding knives in the laundry. He was later assaulted by prisoners who threw dry bleach in his face and punched him several times.

Following that assault, Faust was transferred to Collins Correctional Facility, but was moved again after being recognized. He finally landed at Gouverneur Correctional Facility. He was doing well but discovered he had "a problem brewing again." He wrote his prison counselor, Diane Kogut, advising her that a prisoner yelled out at the "S.H.U." housing unit, stating, "I know who you are now, we'll get you."

No action was taken. Faust wrote another letter advising that he needed to be transferred before he had trouble with the Latin Kings. Seventeen days later, Faust was cut on the left cheek and neck by three other prisoners.

The Court held that dismissal of the claim would be improper, for if Faust's facts were proven at trial, the defendants would be culpable. The motion for dismissal and summary judgment was therefore denied. See: Faust v. New York, N.Y. Court of Claims, Plattsburgh, UID No. 2001-007-096.

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Related legal case

Faust v. New York