New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RATLIFF v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-005-549, Claim No. 97309, Motion No. M-62179


Claimant's motion for the production of certain documents and witnesses at his trial is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Donald J. Corbett, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
Cornelius RatliffPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Ed J. Thompson, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 11, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


On August 25, 2000, the following papers, numbered 1 to 5, were read on motion by Claimant for the production of certain documents and witnesses at his trial scheduled for September 28, 2000:

1, 2 Notice of Motion and Affidavit Annexed

3 Opposing Affirmation

4, 5 Filed Papers: Claim, Answer

Upon the foregoing papers, this motion is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied.

The claim herein alleges negligence and deliberate indifference to Claimant's medical needs as a result of an incident occurring on August 19, 1997, at approximately 10:55 a.m., when a manhole cover flipped up as a cart was pushed over the top, and allegedly Claimant's right foot caught between the manhole cover and the cart.

Claimant requests the appearance of a (1) civilian cook at Auburn Correctional Facility, Mr. Kliss, who purportedly was a witness to the incident. He also seeks (2) inmate Hassan Razi-Bey (#86-A-7405), who allegedly was standing next to him when the incident occurred. Third, he seeks an (3) unnamed correction officer who was on duty at the Shop Gate Post on August 19, 1997 at 10:55 a.m., and whose signature he alleges cannot be read on an institutional pass.

He also requests that (4) the accident and unusual incident reports written by the Shop Gate Officer and Civilian Cook Kliss be produced.

Finally, he requests related medical records from (5) the Auburn Medical Staff, from (6) University Medical Center at SUNY in Syracuse where he was treated, as well as at the (7)Walsh Correctional Medical Unit in Rome, New York. Claimant requests the presence of two (8 & 9) unnamed correction officers who transported him to University Medical Center on or about August 25, 1997. Finally, Claimant advises that he is seeking the expert services of a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist to testify at trial.

With respect to medical records, the Defendant has agreed to provide medical records from Auburn and University Medical Center (5 & 6 above) to the Claimant, but suggests that Claimant can get any other records directly from the provider at the place where he received treatment. Since Claimant appears to have been an inmate at all relevant times herein, I will direct the Defendant to provide a copy of all relevant medical reports in its possession, including those from outside providers to the extent that the same are maintained in the Claimant's ambulatory health records. Specifically, to the extent that the Walsh Correctional Medical Unit (7 above) is a State correctional facility, or provided copies of its records to DOCS, the Defendant is directed to produce the same. Claimant may still seek other records directly from outside providers, should he so desire. The Defendant shall also produce the accident and unusual incident reports written by the Shop Gate Officer and Civilian Cook Kliss (4 above).

With regard to the two correction officers (8 & 9) noted above from August 25, 1997, I do not perceive the need for their testimony and as such that request is denied. If during the course of the trial I am persuaded otherwise, I would revisit this decision.

In opposition the Defendant avers that this action sounds in medical malpractice and thus suggests that all of the above, with the exception of the medical records, are irrelevant and without probative value to any germane issue before the court. Indeed the Defendant does not dispute the fact that Claimant injured his toe in the prison shop on the day in question.

Since this claim can be read as alleging negligence other than that related to his medical treatment, and while cognizant that Defendant acknowledges that Claimant was injured in the prison shop on the day in question, I would accede to the request to have the civilian cook, Mr. Kliss (1 above) testify. Accordingly, if he is still employed by the Defendant at Auburn, I direct the Defendant to produce him without the necessity of a subpoena. Claimant had indicated that the signature of the unnamed Shop Gate Officer (3 above) was illegible on the Institutional Pass which he allegedly attached as Exhibit A to his motion. However, no such exhibit was attached, and thus there is nothing before me to refer to with respect to an unnamed and otherwise unidentified individual. Accordingly, this request is denied at this time. With respect to Inmate Razi-Bey (2 above), if he is still incarcerated at Auburn and is willing to testify on Claimant's behalf, I would allow his testimony to be heard, and direct the Defendant to produce him at trial without the necessity of subpoena. I will address the question of expert witness(es) if it becomes an issue, which it is not at this time.

Accordingly, the motion is granted to the extent noted ,and is otherwise denied.

September 11, 2000
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims