New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CARTER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-031-057, Claim No. 104863, Motion No. M-65729


Synopsis


Claimant's motion to compel disclosure is granted in part.

Case Information

UID:
2002-031-057
Claimant(s):
PLEASANT CARTER
Claimant short name:
CARTER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104863
Motion number(s):
M-65729
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
PLEASANT CARTER, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: WENDY E. MORCIO, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 31, 2002
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 5, were read on motion by Claimant for an order entering default judgment against Defendant, or in the alternative, compelling disclosure from Defendant pursuant to CPLR 3124:
1. Claimant's Notice of Motion, filed August 30, 2002;
2. Claimant's affidavit, sworn to July 12, 2002, with attached exhibits;
3. Claimant's memorandum of law, dated July 12, 2002;
4. Affidavit in opposition of Wendy E. Morcio, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, sworn to September 26, 2002, with attached exhibits;
5. Claimant's Reply Affidavit, sworn to October 8, 2002. In this action, Claimant alleges that he was denied proper medical treatment while incarcerated at Wende Correctional Facility. Specifically, he alleges that, despite repeated complaints, agents of Defendant failed to properly diagnose and treat a foot ailment with which he suffered from January 31, 2001 to August 8, 2001. For purposes of this motion, Claimant asserts that, on November 21, 2001, he served several discovery demands upon Defendant. Although Claimant's initial submissions indicated that Defendant had failed to respond to his demands, he now concedes that responses to all of his demands have been provided. According to Claimant's October 8, 2002 affidavit, what remains is a dispute over the adequacy of the responses, and whether certain documents requested by Claimant are, or are not discoverable. Claimant is still requesting the entry of default judgment due to the length of time it took Defendant to respond to his demands.

Initially, I note that nothing in the record demonstrates that Defendant's tardiness in responding to Claimant's demands demonstrates a willful and contumacious attempt to delay Claimant's action from proceeding to trial. Similarly, Defendant has not failed to comply with a previous order of this court. Therefore, the entry of default judgment, striking the answer, or any other such sanction against the Defendant, is not warranted.

Defendant opposes the motion, indicating that it provided appropriate responses to Claimant's demands.

The matters still in dispute relate to Claimant's request for production of documents. The Claimant asserts that he has not received adequate responses to items numbered 2, 5, 9, 11, 12, and 14 of his demand. I will address these demands in order. It should be noted that many of the demands themselves are poorly worded and difficult to comprehend. What follows is my interpretation of what Claimant is actually requesting.

In item 2, Claimant requests the Defendant's policies and procedures relating to "sick call" and the referral of inmates to medical providers outside of the Department of Correctional Services. I find that this request reasonably relates to the claim in this matter and Defendant is directed to respond to this demand.

In item 5, Claimant requests documents relating to grievances filed by other inmates. As such, Defendant correctly points out that these documents are irrelevant to Claimant's action. The Defendant's response to this item is, therefore, adequate.

In item 9, Claimant requests entries in the facility's Special Housing Unit log book between January 31, 2001 and August 8, 2001. It was not until his October 8, 2002 affidavit that Claimant clarified this request, indicating that he only seeks entries that relate to him and his request for medical treatment. With this limitation, I find that this request is proper and direct Defendant to respond.

In item 11, Claimant seeks reports of physicians and nurses. Defendant, though properly objecting to the broadness of this demand, also responded that such reports that relate to Claimant can be found in the medical records already produced. I find that Defendant's response to this item is adequate.

In item 12, Claimant requests "witness statements either oral or in writing." Defendant responded to this item by indicating that any statements that could be relevant to this action would be contained in the medical records already produced. This response too, is adequate.

Finally, in item 14, Claimant requests a copy of the Department of Correctional Services' Health Services Manual. Defendant correctly objects that this request is overly broad and irrelevant to Claimant's action. Policies and procedures relating to "sick call" and the referral of inmates to outside medical care providers has already been addressed in item 2 above. Claimant has failed to demonstrate the relevance of any other policy or procedure that might be contained in this document.

Based upon the foregoing it is:

ORDERED, that Claimant's motion is granted in part and Defendant is directed to respond, as limited by this decision, to items 2 and 9 of Claimant's "Request for Production of Documents" served November 21, 2001, within 60 days of the filing date of this order; and it is further

ORDERED, that all further relief requested by Claimant in his motion to compel disclosure is denied for the reasons set forth herein.

October 31, 2002
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims