New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

VIDAL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-016-004, Claim No. 104099, Motion No. M-64301


Synopsis


Defendant was ordered to produce records for in camera review in inmate on inmate assault case.

Case Information

UID:
2002-016-004
Claimant(s):
JOSEPH VIDAL
Claimant short name:
VIDAL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104099
Motion number(s):
M-64301
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Joseph Vidal
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Joseph F. Romani, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
January 17, 2002
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

In his underlying claim, Joseph Vidal asserts that he was assaulted by another inmate (Carlos Ochoa) at Sullivan Correctional Facility. He further asserts that defendant was negligent in not intervening to stop the attack and in not taking precautions with regard to an inmate with a known propensity for violence. This is Vidal's motion for an order directing defendant to produce to the Court for in camera review all documents relating to the assault, including his attacker's disciplinary history and mental health history and a report written by Sergeant P. J. Maxwell. Defendant has already produced to claimant certain documents relating to the assault, e.g., the inmate misbehavior report of the attacker and of claimant. Defendant has also agreed to produce certain other documents that relate to the attack upon payment of $.25 per page for copying, e.g., the transcript of claimant's own Tier III disciplinary hearing. What apparently are at issue are the following items from claimant's demand for production dated May 17, 2001:
  1. A certified copy of the transcript of . . . inmate Carlos Ochoa's . . . tier III hearing proceeding undertaken on or about 4-21-00 . . .
Defendant's response: Inmate Ochoa's Tier III hearing transcript is neither material nor relevant to the instant claim.
  1. A copy of the assaultive history record of inmate Carlos Ochoa #86A5529; As well as any violent conduct reports indicating his engagement in violent behavior.
Defendant's response: [This] request . . . is overly broad, irrelevant and immaterial to the present claim.

  1. The mental health record of inmate Ochoa #86-A-5529, on file with the Mental Health unit.
Defendant's response: The mental health records of inmate Ochoa are not in the possession of the defendant, nor are they material and relevant to the present claim.

With regard to request number 2, which seeks the transcript of the Tier III disciplinary hearing of claimant's attacker with regard to the assault in question, this is relevant to this case. Similarly, request number 13 is potentially relevant as claimant has specifically alleged that his attacker had known violent propensities. With regard to request number 14, defendant represents that it has no responsive documents in its possession. The issue of these records thus need not be reached.

In its opposition papers, defendant asserts that certain of the requested documents are confidential and that production would jeopardize institutional goals and safety, but that it will produce "confidential, security-sensitive documents" for in camera review if so ordered. Accordingly, having reviewed the parties' submissions[1], IT IS ORDERED that within sixty (60) days of the filing of this Decision and Order, to the extent not already produced to claimant, defendant shall produce to the Court for in camera review: documents responsive to request number 2 of claimant's May 17, 2001 demand for production, documents prior to April 18, 2000 responsive to request number 13, and the report written by Sergeant P. J. Maxwell.

January 17, 2002
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims




  1. [1]Along with the pleadings, the following were reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affidavit in support, memorandum of law, affidavit of good faith, exhibits A-G and addendum; and defendant's affirmation in opposition.