New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MACK v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-027-570, Claim No. 102678, Motion No. M-63010


Pro Se discovery motion and fees.

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):

Claimant's attorney:
Christopher Mack, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Mary B. Kavaney, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 14, 2001
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


The following papers were reviewed by the Court on this motion: Claimant's Notice of Motion, Claimant's Affidavit and annexed Exhibits A and B, Defendant's Affirmation in Opposition and annexed Exhibits 1-4 and the Filed Claim.

Claimant, Christopher Mack, a pro se inmate, has moved pursuant to Article 31 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules(CPLR) for an order compelling discovery from defendant, the State of New York. Additionally, claimant seems to be seeking an order from this Court granting him poor person status.

Claimant puts forth numerous allegations of wrongdoing against defendant in his Claim which took place when claimant slipped and fell while he was incarcerated at the Downstate Correctional Facility. Specifically, claimant alleges that he slipped on water and partially melted ice causing him to fall down steps on his way to the gym for physical therapy. He alleges that defendant failed to place hazard signs warning of the dangerous condition at that location.

Initially, the Court notes that claimant mistakenly indicates that he has already been assigned poor person status. The only previous application to the Court made by claimant was with regard to the Court's filing fee only. In an Order file stamped July 17, 2000 decided by the Honorable Susan Phillips Read, the Court reduced claimant's filing fee to $15.00. However, that Order did not grant claimant poor person status. Since there are no other costs or fees required by the Court of Claims to prosecute a claim, the portion of claimant's motion to proceed as a poor person is denied. As an aside, it should be mentioned that the type of claim presented here is typically handled by attorneys on a contingency fee basis. This affords claimant the opportunity to be represented by counsel without incurring any expenses unless he recovers an award in his favor.

Notwithstanding this lack of poor person status, defendant has voluntarily provided claimant with medical and accident reports free of charge. Additionally, defendant has indicated that there are no ambulatory health records for the dates of July 8, 2000 and July 26, 2000. Hence, defendant has substantially complied with claimant's discovery requests. It appears that the only outstanding discovery items are photographs of the injury scene and claimant's x-rays, which claimant is requesting to receive free of charge.

Defendant is entitled to receive the costs associated with reproducing all of the documents it has provided to claimant. Public Health Law §17 provides that a reasonable charge for paper copies shall not exceed seventy-five cents per page. Additionally, the New York State Codes Rules and Regulations Title 7, § 5.36 provides that fees for photocopies of a department record shall be 25 cents per page, not exceeding 9 inches by 14 inches in size. The section goes on to state that the fees for other types of copies shall be "reasonable amounts." Defendant is not seeking to recover the costs for the documents already provided to claimant but is requesting only the costs associated with the reproduction of the x-rays and photographs. Defendant is clearly entitled to theses costs statutorily.

Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, claimant's motion is denied.

June 14, 2001
New York, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims