Suit claims sick man was left in the cold

A Fonda man is suing the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, alleging deputies who suspected he
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A Fonda man is suing the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, alleging deputies who suspected he was intoxicated dropped him off on his porch where he stayed for two days suffering from a reaction to medication.

The lawsuit, filed April 15 on behalf of Larry C. Schoolcraft, alleges deputies were negligent and seeks unspecified damages. Schoolcraft could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Calls to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department were not returned Tuesday, and the name of the deputies involved in the incident are not disclosed in the lawsuit.

Attorney James W. Bendall, of Bendall & Mednick of Schenectady, said Schoolcraft suffered permanent injuries from exposure to the elements following the March 21, 2007, incident.

The low temperature in the Albany area was 5 degrees on that date, with daily averages of 35 and 34 degrees the next two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Bendall said deputies were sent to the Cumberland Farms store at 2 W. Main St. in Fonda to follow up on an anonymous call to dispatchers alleging an intoxicated individual was present.

Bendall said Schoolcraft, who is in his 50s, was groggy due to some medication he took. The responding deputies made the determination that Schoolcraft should not drive, so they dropped him off at his home on state Route 5.

“Instead of being taken to the hospital … he was just taken home and dropped off,” Bendall said.

Schoolcraft lives alone, Bendall said. What followed is in dispute, Bendall said.

Bendall said the lawsuit claims deputies simply dropped Schoolcraft off on the porch, but he was told by authorities that deputies are saying they brought Schoolcraft into his home.

Bendall said Schoolcraft woke up in the hospital days after the incident, unaware of exactly what happened to him. He was spotted lying on his porch by a utility worker two or three days after being dropped off, Bendall said.

Schoolcraft’s son, a New York City police officer, came upstate when he received a call that his father was in the hospital, Bendall said. The son ultimately found his father’s car at the Cumberland Farms, Bendall said.

The lawsuit alleges officials had a “special duty to plaintiff Larry C. Schoolcraft to see that he was safe and secure and did not pose a threat to himself or others.” The suit also contends that deputies should have ensured that Schoolcraft was in a position to look out for his own safety and well-being.

Categories: Schenectady County

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