Immediately before coming into DOCCS custody, a doctor at Albany Medical Center recommended that Matthew Manley (the claimant or claimant) undergo a discectomy to relieve back and leg pain, cramping and numbness in his leg and a foot drop that he was experiencing due to a herniated disc. In March 2012, roughly 6 months after the recommendation was made, the claimant agreed to the surgery. However, in spite of familiarity with the claimant’s medical condition and the recommendation, the Department did not schedule the surgery, and by February 2013, the nerve compression had degenerated to the point that surgery was no longer a viable option because the claimant had suffered permanent nerve damage.

The claimant, asserting a claim of medical malpractice, sought damages for pain and loss of function. Three doctors testified at the trial, two for the claimant and one for the State. The court found that while it was unlikely that the surgery could have corrected the foot drop or stopped his muscles from atrophying, there was a substantial probability that surgical intervention prior to July 2013 could have lessened or eliminated claimant’s leg pain.

Further, the court found, the State was 100% liable for the left leg and left foot pain that the claimant experienced between March 2012 and July 2013.

Based on these findings, the court awarded damages.


Brian Dratch, of The Dratch Law Firm, P.C., represented Matthew Manley in this Court of Claims action (Ct. Clms., Claim No. 125604, Feb. 14, 2018.)