New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

FORD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-005-540, Claim No. 96731, Motion No. M-62132


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for the production of documents and witnesses at the trial herein is denied except to the extent noted.

Case Information

UID:
2000-005-540
Claimant(s):
WAYNE FORD
Claimant short name:
FORD
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
96731
Motion number(s):
M-62132
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Donald J. Corbett, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
Wayne FordPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Timothy P. Mulvey, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 30, 2000
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

On August 16, 2000, the following papers, numbered 1 to 5, were read on motion by Claimant for the production of documents and witnesses at the trial herein:

1, 2 Notice of Motion and Affidavit Annexed

3 Defendant's response of August 11, 2000

4 Claimant's Reply dated August 14, 2000

5 Filed Papers: Claim

Upon the foregoing papers, this motion is denied, except to the extent noted.

The instant claim is scheduled for trial and seeks damages for personal injuries sustained by Claimant when the Defendant allegedly was negligent in failing to provide a working cell light, a functioning cell toilet and sink, a blanket, soap, toilet paper, dental sponge and prescribed medication during Claimant's stay in the transit section or block of Auburn Correctional Facility from the afternoon of July 7, 1997 to between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on July 8, 1997.

In Paragraph 3 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all documents pertaining to his arrival to, stay in, and departure from Auburn on July 7, 1997, including time of arrival, cell assignment, time of departure and all medical treatment received. In response the Defendant has supplied to the Claimant and the Court, copies of the watch commander's log and the log book for D-block, 8 Gallery, for the dates in question. The Defendant agreed to produce at trial copies of Claimant's Ambulatory Health Record for the relevant times herein. Claimant's protestations to the contrary, the purpose of this motion is not discovery under CPLR article 31, but the provision of documents to be considered for admission into the record of the trial. If Claimant wanted such documents before trial, he should have sought them pursuant to article 31.

In Paragraph 4 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of a copy of log book entries to show which cell he was assigned to on July 7 and 8, 1997. Defendant advises, upon information and belief, that a record of such specific information does not exist. Claimant demurs asserting that Auburn's policy requires such a record. The Defendant shall continue to seek that information, and if it exists, shall have a certified copy thereof available at the trial.

In Paragraph 5 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all 1997 Auburn documents regarding certain cells in the transit block (D-Block). Defendant objects that this is irrelevant and immaterial to the claim. Claimant demurs, alleging that the particular cell he was in had plexiglass and a metal screen preventing hands or anything else from going in or out of the cell, as opposed to regular transit cells. I see nothing in this request that is relevant to the underlying cause of action, and deny the request.

In Paragraph 6 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all cell work orders from 1997 for the cell he was assigned to at Auburn. Defendant demurs, upon information and belief, that no such record of this specific information exists. The Claimant avers that they should have such repair records, but fails to demonstrate why repair records would be pertinent to the underlying cause of action, and I deny the request.

In Paragraph 7 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of the log book and every other record which indicates when work was done in 1997 to the cell to which he was assigned on July 7, 1997. Defendant responds as it did to Paragraph 6, and I find similarly that repair work records are irrelevant to the claim herein, and deny the request.

In Paragraph 8 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all of Auburn's policies and procedures when an inmate complains about his cell sink, light or toilet. The Defendant has supplied the Claimant and the Court with the sought after policy memorandum. Claimant objects, but I find that Defendant has properly responded. Of course if there are additional such policies and procedures, Defendant is under an obligation to produce the same at trial.

In Paragraph 9 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of a copy of log book entries showing the names of staff assigned to the transit block when Claimant was at Auburn. Defendant has supplied such log books, in response to Paragraph 3. Similarly for Paragraph 10, Claimant seeks log book entries relative to Correction Officers (CO) Antoine and Smith, and the Defendant has supplied the same in Paragraph 3. These requests have been complied with.

In Paragraph 11 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of Auburn's policy and procedure in effect at the time in question regarding what staff must do when an inmate in transit reports that he did not receive or was in need of prescription medicines. The Defendant supplied the policy applicable to the Transit Depot, but Claimant asserts that it doesn't answer his particular inquiry. I find that Defendant has properly responded. Of course if there are additional such policies and procedures, Defendant is under an obligation to produce the same at trial.

In Paragraph 12 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all log book entries regarding complaints he made during his stay on July 7 and July 8, 1997, and in Paragraph 13, seeks any comments in said log books written by staff members regarding Claimant. Defendant responds that it has supplied the log books in question as well as any policy memorandums. This response is sufficient.

In Paragraph 14 of his motion Claimant seeks DOCS Directive No. 4933 and Defendant has supplied reference to 7 NYCRR §300.1, et seq. In Paragraphs 15 and 16 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of DOCS and/or Auburn directives/policy and procedure, respectively, regarding prescribed medications for inmates during prison-to-prison transfers, and Defendant has supplied the Auburn Policy and Procedure Memorandum on Transit Depot. This is adequate.

In Paragraph 17 of his motion Claimant seeks the names and DIN numbers of all porters assigned to work in and who did work in the transit block on the days in question. Defendant objects that this request is in the nature of discovery, not production of documents for possible admission into the record. Claimant says that he needs this information to identify his inmate witnesses, particularly as he had such information as to one inmate, but the papers were lost or stolen at Southport Correctional Facility. Regardless, I concur with the Defendant that such information is in the guise of discovery, and is not a document for trial. This request is denied.

In Paragraph 18 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of any and all records of medical treatment he received during his stay at Auburn. The Defendant's production of Claimant's medical records at the trial satisfies this request. In Paragraphs 19 and 20 of his motion Claimant seeks the production of policies and procedures regarding supplies for the general population and provisions for transit SHU prisoners, respectively, at Auburn during the period in question. The policy that Defendant has provided in Paragraph 8, the Auburn Transit Depot policy, and the reference to NYCRR §300.1, et seq. provide sufficient responses.

In Paragraph 21 of his motion Claimant seeks to have Auburn's Nurse Administrator available to testify that Claimant was entitled to prescription medications and "was entitled to receive them while in Auburn transit in July of 1997." The Defendant demurs, indicating that the provision of Claimant's Ambulatory Health records negate the necessity of this witness. Claimant's objection that there is prejudice in withholding the medical records until trial is rejected for the same reasons noted above. However, such witness may be relevant regarding entitlement to and procedures for dissemination of prescription medications during transit status. I direct the Defendant to have available to testify at trial a Nurse Administrator, or similarly situated employee, without the necessity of subpoena.

In Paragraph 22 of his motion Claimant seeks to have Auburn's Deputy Superintendent of Security or Administration to prove his entitlement to the things he complains that he was deprived of. Defendant objects saying there is no legal or factual basis to support production of these witnesses. Claimant's reply to the contrary, I do not find the prospective testimony to be pertinent as the claim alleges injury for the deprivation of certain items, not the damages for the failure to respond to his purported complaints thereof. In Paragraph 23 he seeks Auburn's Imam to be present to testify to demonstrate how certain alleged deprivations affected his ability to practice certain aspects of his Muslim faith, and thus supporting his claim for damages for the violation of his constitutional rights to freedom of religion. This is not the type of constitutional tort implicated in Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172, and thus this request too is denied.

In sum Claimant's motion is denied in its entirety, except for Defendant's continuing obligations in Paragraphs 4, 8, and 11 noted above, as well as having a Nurse Administrator or similarly situated employee available to testify at trial.

August 30, 2000
Rochester, New York

HON. DONALD J. CORBETT, JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims