3) Claimant's Memorandum of Law.
Opposition Papers: NONE.
This Claim arises from the alleged wrongful placement of Claimant, at the time
15 years old, into a state prison facility. Claimant alleges, inter
alia, that as a result of his placement he was a victim of sexual
Following the service of disclosure demands, which included requests for
Claimant's medical and psychiatric records, and Defendant's investigative files,
the Defendant asserted that Civil Rights Law § 50-B precluded release of
any investigative reports and Executive Law § 501-c precluded release of
Claimant's Division for Youth
application ensued by which Claimant seeks "the psychological, psychiatric
and/or medical records" of Claimant in the possession of the State of New York
and the Office of Children and Family Services and all investigative materials
concerning the incident in question (see, Santiago Affirmation ¶¶ 8
and 11; and Exhibit A [Demands 14 and 15] ). Defendant has failed to offer any
This Court embraces the principle that "[t]here shall be full disclosure of all
matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action" (CPLR
3101 [a]) and that "open and far-reaching pretrial discovery" is generally
favored (DiMichel v South Buffalo Ry. Co., 80 NY2d 184, 193, rearg
denied sub nom Poole v Consolidated Rail Corp., 81 NY2d 835, cert
denied 510 US 816). The reach of the CPLR, however, is tempered by the
public policy concerns regarding a youth's privacy interests, and those of a
victim of sexual assault, evinced in the Civil Rights Law and the Executive Law.
It bears noting that on the instant application, the party seeking disclosure is
the intended beneficiary of the cited provisions of law.
Beginning with Civil Rights Law § 50-b, Claimant correctly notes that
§ 50-b(2)(c) permits the victim to authorize release of documents such as
police reports upon the victim's "written consent" (Id.). The Court
finds that Claimant, here the alleged victim, has satisfied this aspect of the
statute by submitting a notarized authorization with his moving papers directing
release of such records to his attorney (see, Doe Affidavit, Exhibit A).
Thus, the protections of
§ 50-b have been waived by the Claimant.
Pursuant to Executive Law § 501-c records maintained by the former
division for youth are "deemed confidential" and are to be safeguarded from
disclosure (see, Executive Law
§ 501-c[a]). The confidentiality created by this provision, however, is
not absolute and may yield upon a finding by this Court, in an exercise of its
discretion, that "such records are required for trial...or other proceeding"
(Executive Law § 501-c[a][ii]; see also, Social Service Law
§ 372 ). In this Court's view, discovery of records relating to the
Claimant are required as relevant and necessary for proper and complete case
Notwithstanding the foregoing, while Claimant's request is on its face seeking
only records that relate to him, it is quite possible that certain records may
relate information regarding other youth that would be confidential. Similarly,
investigative records may contain information that is not appropriately
disclosed. Accordingly, in camera inspection of the subject records is required
(see, Quillen v State of New York ,191 AD2d 31; see
also, Matter of U.S. Pioneer Elec. Corp. [Nikko Elec. Corp.], 47 NY2d
Claimant's motion is GRANTED and the Defendant shall, within 45 days of the
date of filing of this decision and order, deliver to the Court for in camera
inspection all records responsive to Claimant's demands and as set forth