New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TAYLOR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-011-504, Claim No. 101394, Motion No. M-62441


Synopsis


Claimant's motion pursuant to CPLR 3124 for an order compelling a response to a demand for discovery and inspection is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2001-011-504
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY TAYLOR
Claimant short name:
TAYLOR
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
101394
Motion number(s):
M-62441
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS J. McNAMARA
Claimant's attorney:
Anthony Taylor, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General(Dennis M. Acton, Esq., Assistant Attorney General)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 12, 2001
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


This is a motion by Claimant pursuant to CPLR 3124 for an order compelling a response toa demand for discovery and inspection.

The claim stems from an incident in which Claimant was injured on an outdoor basketball court at Bare Hill Correctional Facility. CPLR 3101 (a) requires "... full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action, regardless of the burden of proof". "The words, 'material and necessary', are ... to be interpreted liberally to require disclosure, upon request, of any facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity. The test is one of usefulness and reason" (Allen v Crowell-Collier Publ. Co., 21 NY2d 403, 406). (Marten v Eden Park Health Servs., 250 AD2d 44) Demands for discovery of documents and things "shall set forth the items to be inspected, copied, tested or photographed by individual item or by category, and shall describe each item and category with reasonable particularity." (CPLR 3120[a][2]).

Though Claimant did not provide a copy of either the demand or the response from Defendant, the items demanded are described in the affidavit by Claimant and Defendant has provided a copy of its response. The first demand was for a copy of each and every document related to the claim. Though Claimant may believe such documents to be necessary to the prosecution of the claim, the demand leaves to defendant to determine what documents may be "related to the claim" and therefore, the demand lacks particularity.

The second demand is for incident reports and Defendant has agreed to provide any such documents in the State's possession.

The third demand is for a list of repairs done in the recreation yard since the date of the incident. A party is not required to create a document in response to a demand for discovery as the demand suggests. In addition, Claimant has not shown how each repair in the yard might be relevant to the condition alleged to have caused the incident in which he was injured.

The sixth item is a request for a list of the names of employees on the "ground crew" at Bare Hill Correctional Facility. Defendant has agreed to provide a list, if one exists, of those employed in such capacity at the time of the incident. The response is proper inasmuch as there are other avenues of disclosure, such as depositions, through which Claimant can determine if there is a need to identify other employees who may have done work relevant to the issues in this claim.

The eighth demand is for the names of doctors and nurses working at Bare Hill Correctional Facility without a proper license. Defendant correctly objected to this demand as requiring an investigation into the licenses of each doctor and nurse employed on the medical staff. Such information, if relevant, should be obtained through the use of a deposition or some other disclosure device.

The ninth item is a demand for an itemized list of all inmates and staff injured in the facility's recreation yard from 1998 to 2000. This demand is improper for a number of reasons. First, it requires that Defendant create a document not in existence. Second, it encompasses intentionally inflicted injuries as well as accidental ones. Third, even if read as limited to accidental injuries, it requires Defendant to provide information on conditions which have not been shown to have any relevance to the condition underlying this claim.

The tenth demand is for first and last dates of any blacktopping project done in the recreation yard from 1998 to 2000. The item is not a proper subject for a demand for documents and should be pursued either through a deposition or the use of interrogatories.

Based upon the foregoing, the motion is denied.

January 12, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. THOMAS J. MCNAMARA
Judge of the Court of Claims



Papers Submitted:

  1. Notice of Motion dated September 19, 2000.
  2. Affidavit in Support of Anthony Taylor sworn to the 19th day of September, 2000.
  3. Affidavit in Opposition of Dennis M. Acton, Esq., sworn to the 10th day of October, 2000 with exhibits annexed.