New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ROBERTS v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-015-336, Claim No. 105344, Motion Nos. M-66536, CM-66611


Synopsis


Court denied claimant's motion to compel additional responses to discovery demands without prejudice to a new, properly supported motion specifying the alleged inadequacies of the defendant's prior responses. Defendant's cross-motion for a protective order is denied as academic.

Case Information

UID:
2003-015-336
Claimant(s):
WILLIAM V. ROBERTS and JANET M. ROBERTS
Claimant short name:
ROBERTS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105344
Motion number(s):
M-66536
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-66611
Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
William V. Roberts and Janet M. Roberts, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Michael A. Sims, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 30, 2003
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

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[1].

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.

June 30, 2003
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion, undated, filed March 13, 2003;
  2. Affidavit of Janet M. Roberts sworn to February 18, 2003 with Exhibit;
  3. Notice of cross-motion dated March 31, 2003;
  4. Affirmation of Michael A. Sims dated March 31, 2002 [sic] with exhibits;
  5. Affidavit of Brian Magee sworn to March 31, 2002 [sic] with exhibits.

[1]Per letter of Assistant Attorney General Michael A. Sims dated April 1, 2003 attached to the motion papers defendant withdrew its objection to claimants' failure to serve the motion papers on the Attorney General making unnecessary a discussion of CPLR 2214 and 2215.