New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DAVIDSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK , #2003-028-521, Claim No. 105260, Motion No. M-66166


Synopsis


Claimant's application for a penalty pursuant to CPLR 3126 is denied as moot.

Case Information

UID:
2003-028-521
Claimant(s):
CHESTER DAVIDSON
Claimant short name:
DAVIDSON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105260
Motion number(s):
M-66166
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant's attorney:
CHESTER DAVIDSON, pro se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Michael W. Friedman, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 14, 2003
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read on Claimant's motion pursuant to CPLR 3126 for a "penalty" for Defendant's failure to complete discovery:

1) Notice of Motion for "Penalty For Refusal To Comply With Disclosure Devices" and supporting affidavit of Chester Davidson, filed December 18, 2002 (Davidson Affidavit).

2) Affirmation in Opposition of Assistant Attorney General Michael W. Friedman,

filed January 7, 2003 (Friedman Opposition),.

Filed Papers: Claim, filed November 26, 2001; Answer filed January 2, 2002.

The parties are again before the Court on discovery matters. This time, Claimant seeks the imposition of a penalty pursuant to CPLR 3126 and Defendant opposes the motion. The facts of the underlying Claim remain straightforward. Claimant, at all times relevant an inmate, alleges the Defendant was negligent when it dispensed the wrong prescription medication to Claimant upon the refill of an existing prescription (Claim, ¶ 7). Claimant further alleges that he was the subject of retaliatory discipline in violation of Correction Law §138 for reporting the aforementioned negligence (Claim, ¶ 8).

CPLR 3126 authorizes a court to penalize a party who refuses to obey an order directing disclosure or "wilfully fails to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosure." Among the penalties that the court may impose are an order resolving in favor of the moving party issues to which the information is relevant; an order precluding the disobedient party from producing evidence or the things or items of testimony being sought; an order striking the disobedient party's pleadings, in whole or in part; an order staying further proceedings until the demanded information is provided; or an order dismissing the action. This list is not exhaustive, and monetary sanctions may also be awarded to sanction frivolous conduct (see Klein v Seenauth, 180 Misc 2d 213). Because the "objective of CPLR article 31 is not punitive but, rather, the liberal and full disclosure" of all relevant information (id. at 217, citing Miller v Duffy, 126 AD2d 527, 528), any sanction imposed is to be fashioned as narrowly as possible under the circumstances of each individual case (see Di Domenico v C & S Aeromatick Supplies, 252 AD2d 41).

The instant motion, seeking penalties for Defendant's responses or lack thereof to Claimant's various discovery demands was served and filed while three motions (M-65119, M-65265 and M-65439) regarding those same demands were sub judice. By decision and order signed December 23, 2002 and filed January 17, 2003, the Court resolved the discovery issues then before the Court by, inter alia, granting in part and denying in part both Claimant's motion to compel disclosure and Defendant's motion for protective orders (see Davidson v State of New York, Ct Cl, Sise, J., UID #2002-028-074, Claim No. 105260, Motion Nos. M-65119, M-65265, M-65439 [January 17, 2003]).

The Court's decision, supra, renders moot the instant application. The Court further notes that upon review of the papers submitted on this motion the Court does not find the requisite showing that Defendant's conduct to date has risen to the level of being "willful" or "contumacious" so as to justify the drastic relief that Claimant requests (see Fitterer v Gus Riedlinger's Towing Serv., 271 AD2d 403, 404).

Accordingly, Claimant's motion is denied in its entirety.

March 14, 2003
Albany, New York

HON. RICHARD E. SISE
Judge of the Court of Claims