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$150 Award to New York Prisoner for Top Bunk Placement

A New York Court of Claims awarded a prisoner $150 for an injury sustained due to improperly being in an upper bunk.

The award to Auburn Correctional Facility prisoner Cedric Reid was for a mild sprain that occurred while Reid was climbing into his assigned bunk on September 16, 2002. Reid claimed negligence by being assigned a top bunk when he had a “flats permit” that required a lower bunk.

The court upheld that Reid was injured and that had a “flats permit.” It then noted that 7 NYCRR§ 1701.5[c][6][i] requires that facility health staff conduct a medical records review of prisoners under consideration for double-cell housing to determine if they require placement in a bottom bunk. The court then found the defendants violated 7 NYCRR§ 1701.5[e], which requires that lower bunk assignment can not be changed without first consulting medical staff.

As Reid suffered no more than “mild discomfort” from the injury, the court awarded him $150, inclusive of interest. It rejected his claims that he was mistakenly placed in a double-occupancy cell and was negligently placed in a cell with a smoker. Reid proceeded pro se in gaining the court’s February 26, 2010 judgment. See: Reid v. New York, New York Court of Claims, Rochester, #2010-031-504, Claim No. 112926.

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Related legal case

Reid v. New York