New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

THOMAS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-011-528, Claim No. 103614, Motion No. M-64728


Synopsis


Claimant's motion to compel a response to a demand for discovery and inspection is denied. Defendant has satisfied the requirement.

Case Information

UID:
2002-011-528
Claimant(s):
BERNARD THOMAS, 99 a 2204
Claimant short name:
THOMAS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103614
Motion number(s):
M-64728
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS J. McNAMARA
Claimant's attorney:
Bernard Thomas, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Paul F. Cagino, Esq.,Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 25, 2002
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


This is a motion by claimant to compel a response to a demand for discovery andinspection made in January 2002. The notice contains demands for claimant's medical and psychiatric records, any and all grievances and complaints of the medical department at Upstate Correctional Facility since January 1, 1999, any and all policies, directives and sick call physician referral procedures at Upstate, any and all logs or entries of when claimant was admitted to the infirmary, Upstate Correctional Facility Health Service Policy Manual and any and all administrative procedures as set forth in Upstate's mandated protocol regarding medical treatment at the facility.

Defendant provided a response dated January 30, 2002 it which it advised claimant that he could obtain access to the demanded medical records by submitting a request to the Inmate Records Coordinator at the facility where he is housed. In addition, defendant indicated that although it was unclear what material was sought regarding policies and directives, all unclassified directives were available at the correctional facility. With respect to the other demands, defendant objected on the basis that the demands were either not relevant or not sufficiently specific as to the material sought.

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]).

Except with respect to the demands for medical and psychiatric records and to some extent, the policy directives, the demands either do not describe the items sought with sufficient particularity and/or it is not apparent how the material is relevant to issues raised by the claim. The response to the demands for medical and psychiatric records and policy directives is appropriate as CPLR 3120 only requires a party to make material available for inspection or copying. Defendant has satisfied this requirement. Accordingly, the motion is denied.

April 25, 2002
Saratoga Springs, New York

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



Papers Submitted:

  1. Notice of Motion dated February 11, 2002
  2. Affirmation in Opposition of Paul F. Cagino, Esq. dated March 19, 2002 with exhibit annexed