No Notice of Claim Requirement for Suit Against Sheriff/Sheriff Can Be Liable for Negligently Training and Supervising Deputies/Whether Sheriff Entitled to Governmental Immunity Cannot Be Decided at the Pleading Stage
The Fourth Department determined no notice of claim need be filed in an action by an inmate against the county sheriff. The court further determined the sheriff has a duty to keep prisoners safe, the sheriff can be liable for negligently training and supervising deputies who work at the jail, and the factual question whether the sheriff is entitled to governmental immunity could not be decided at the pleading stage:
Service of a notice of claim upon a public corporation is not required for an action against a county officer, appointee, or employee unless the county “has a statutory obligation to indemnify such person under [the General Municipal Law] or any other provision of law” (General Municipal Law § 50-e  [b]) and, here, Erie County has no statutory obligation to indemnify defendant. Plaintiff “was not required to file a notice of claim naming [defendant] in his official capacity prior to commencing” an action against defendant … .
We further conclude that the court erred in determining that defendant owed no duty of care to plaintiff. Pursuant to Correction Law § 500-c, a sheriff has a “duty to receive and safely keep’ prisoners in the jail over which he has custody” …, and plaintiff’s first cause of action is based on an alleged violation of that duty to him. A sheriff may also be held liable for negligent training and supervision of the deputy sheriffs who worked in the jail …, which forms the basis of plaintiff’s second cause of action.
We reject defendant’s contention that the court properly determined that he is immune from liability because his alleged negligence arises from discretionary acts for which he is entitled to governmental immunity. In the context of this CPLR 3211 motion, the issue whether defendant’s alleged acts of negligence “were discretionary and thus immune from liability is a factual question which cannot be determined at the pleading stage’ ” … . Villar v Howard, 2015 NY Slip Op 02232, 4th Dept 3-20-15