Claimants' pro se motion pursuant to CPLR 3124 seeking an order compelling
further responses to claimants' omnibus discovery demands is denied.
Defendant's cross-motion for a protective order pursuant to CPLR 3103 denying,
limiting, conditioning, or regulating the use of any disclosure device to
prevent unreasonable annoyance, expense, or other prejudices is denied. The
claim seeks to recover damages for the appropriation of certain of claimants'
real property abutting County Route 55 in the Town of East Greenbush, Rensselaer
County alleged to have occurred on December 18, 1998. The claim was filed on
December 14, 2001.
By undated notice of motion filed with the Court on March 13, 2003 and
supporting affidavit sworn to February 18, 2003 claimant Janet M. Roberts moved
for an order generally compelling defendant to comply with claimants' discovery
demands dated October 29, 2002.
The defendant in response alleges reasonable compliance with the October 29,
2002 demand and uncertainty as to the nature of claimants' dissatisfaction with
the State's responses. Defendant thus cross-moved for a protective order
denying, limiting, conditioning and/or regulating the use of a disclosure device
to prevent abuse citing to CPLR § § 2214, 2215, 3103 and 22 NYCRR
§ § 206.8 and 206.9
Since shortly after the filing of this claim on December 14, 2001 the parties
have been embroiled in discussions regarding discovery (see correspondence
attached to defendant's cross-motion as Exhibits F, G, J, K, L). In the instant
motion claimants, through the affidavit of Janet M. Roberts, continue their
non-specific complaint that the "[d]efendant has unreasonably failed to
adequately respond to the requests therein contained," referring to claimants'
October 29, 2002 discovery demands. Claimants further allege on this motion
that "[t]o date, defendant has turned over a fraction of the requested
materials, which remain unmarked, unidentified and often unrecognizable." They
conclude their allegations on the motion by saying "[m]oreover the demands made
by the Claimants' [sic] and unreasonably denied by the Defendant were
remarkably similar to language and materials sought and turned over to the
Defendant by the Claimant herein."
Claimants do not particularize their dissatisfaction with the State's responses
to their demands. At one point during the ongoing discussions between the
parties the Court in a telephone conference advised claimants that they needed
to particularize the manner in which they believed their demands had either been
unanswered or insufficiently addressed by the defendant. They did not do so
informally and have not done so on the instant motion. On the motion the
claimants have failed to specifically identify those documents which they seek
to compel the defendant to produce (see, Octave v State of New
York, Ct Cl, October 24, 2000 [Claim No. 97393, Motion No. M-62068] Read, P.
J., unreported) and the Court is not required to review the defendant's
responses and objections to claimants' demands to determine what, if any,
additional responses might be required. At this conjuncture the Court simply
cannot determine which if any of the defendant's responses have satisfied the
claimants' demands and which, if any, remain unsatisfied. That determination
must await the submission of a properly specific motion.
Accordingly, the claimants' motion is denied without prejudice to the filing
and service of a more specific, particularized motion detailing the precise
manner in which the defendant has allegedly failed to provide appropriate and
necessary responses to each of claimants' specified demands in light of the
defendant's written objections to such demands (see, Defendant's Exhibit
H). Any such motion shall be made no later than 60 days following service of
this decision and order. The conditional denial of the claimants' motion for
the moment renders academic defendant's motion for a protective order limiting
disclosure as set forth above.