New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

QUEZADA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-019-536, Claim No. 97371, Motion No. M-65116


Synopsis


Claimant's motion to compel production of documents for in camera review is granted.

Case Information

UID:
2002-019-536
Claimant(s):
RUDDY QUEZADA
Claimant short name:
QUEZADA
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
97371
Motion number(s):
M-65116
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
KELLY & RUBIN, LLPBY: Michael F. Rubin, Esq., of counsel
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Joseph F. Romani, Assistant Attorney General,of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 3, 2002
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant moves for an order directing an in camera inspection of documents. The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes the motion.


The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
  1. Claim, filed November 19, 1997.
  2. MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER, Ct Cl, Hanifin J., Claim No. 97371, Motion No. M-56840, filed April 21, 1998.
  3. Amended Claim, filed May 11, 1998.
  4. Plaintiff's Combined Demand for Discovery and Inspection, filed August 8, 2000.
  5. Response to Claimant's Discovery Demands, filed November 3, 2000, with attached exhibits.
  6. Letter from Michael R. Rubin, Esq., to Joseph Romani, AAG, dated March 25, 2002.
  7. Letter from Joseph Romani, AAG to Michael F. Rubin, Esq., dated April 2, 2002.
  8. Notice of Motion No. M-65116, dated April 16, 2002, and filed April 25, 2002.
  9. Affirmation of Michael F. Rubin, Esq., in support of motion, dated April 16, 2002.
  10. Affirmation of Joseph F. Romani, AAG, in opposition to motion, dated May 1, 2002, and filed May 3, 2002.
The underlying claim alleges that Claimant was attacked and slashed in the face with a razor by six or seven other inmates during his incarceration at Elmira Correctional Facility on September 13, 1997. A Notice of Intention was served upon the Attorney General's office on November 11, 1997. By way of a Decision and Order filed April 21, 1998, Claimant was granted permission to file an amended Claim. (Quezada v State of New York, Ct Cl, April 21, 1998, Hanifin, J., Claim No. 97371, Motion No. M-56840). Thereafter, the parties commenced discovery. As part of its initial response to Claimant's Demand for Discovery and Inspection, the State disclosed the name of five inmates who were listed on the Unusual Incident Report as being involved in this altercation, including the names of inmates Charles Johnson, 96-A-3905, and Shane Ross, 97-B-0084. (State's Responses to Claimant's Discovery Demands, ¶ 2 [d]). Additionally, during the deposition of a correction officer, reference was made to a "Plot Plan" which apparently addresses the issue of staffing minimums as it relates to inmate supervision.


At issue here is Claimant's Supplementary Demand for Discovery and Inspection made by way of letter dated March 25, 2002 in which Claimant demands, among other things, "[a]ny and all unusual occurrence records and/or all documentation relative to disciplinary matters involving Mr. Ross and Mr. Johnson. Also please provide the 'plot plan' referred to by Sergeant Erickson in his deposition relative to staffing minimums in the supervision of inmates." (Claimant's letter dated March 25, 2002). The State refused disclosure of these items without a Court order. (Romani letter dated April 2, 2002). A conference call was held between counsel and this Court on March 27, 2002, in which it was agreed that Claimant would make this instant motion.


Quite simply, Claimant requests that this Court issue an order compelling the production for an in camera review by the Court of the inmate disciplinary histories of Inmates Ross and Johnson, as well as the Plot Plan. In its opposition papers, the State asserts, among other things, that these documents are confidential and that production would jeopardize institutional goals and safety, but that it will produce these documents for an in camera review if so ordered.

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, that Claimant's motion to compel an in camera review of the above-referenced documents as outlined in Claimant's letter dated March 25, 2002, is GRANTED. The State shall produce said documents to the Court for in camera review within sixty (60) days of the filing of this Decision and Order.



June 3, 2002
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims