5 Filed papers: Claim, Answer
After carefully reviewing the papers submitted and the applicable law the
motion is disposed of as follows:
Reginald McFadden, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim number 106235 that
defendant's agents failed to provide him with safe accommodations and
negligently exposed him to asbestos and to lead paint due to asbestos removal
conducted without attention to proper safety procedures; failed to provide
Claimant with adequate medical treatment after a fellow inmate set his own cell
on fire causing Claimant to be "almost suffocated by burning
failed to provide adequate health
care relative to Claimant's hearing impairment; and failed to provide proper
accommodations in light of his impairment in conformance with the Americans With
Disabilities Act. These are described, generally, as continuous wrongs,
although there is some indication that the asbestos removal occurred in
September, 2000 or June, 2001 while Claimant was either at Downstate
Correctional Facility or at Dannemora - it is unclear from the claim. Lead
paint problems are alleged as occurring at Clinton Correctional Facility in
December, 2001. The cell fire allegedly occurred on April 15, 2002.
Claimant served Interrogatories upon Defendant on or about December 3, 2002.
Defendant responded to same on or about December 24, 2002. [Affirmation in
Opposition by Assistant Attorney General, Exhibit "E"]. See, Civil
Practice Law and Rules §§3130, 3131, 3132, 3133.
Claimant now seeks an order directing Defendant to answer all questions
truthfully and for sanctions pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §3126
, based upon the purportedly evasive responses of the Assistant Attorney
The Court has reviewed the Interrogatories served and the responses and finds
the responses adequate based upon the inquiries made. As the relevant statute
provides: "Interrogatories may relate to any matters embraced in the disclosure
requirement of section 3101...." See, Civil Practice Law and Rules
§§3101, 3131. The "...party responding to an interrogatory is not
required to anticipate what information the proponent of the interrogatory is
seeking but need only answer the actual question posed...." Meraner v Albany
Medical Center, 211 AD2d 867, 868 (3d Dept 1995), lv dismissed, 85
NY2d 968 (1995). Valid objections to interrogatories include that they are
irrelevant, immaterial and unnecessary; over broad, vague, ambiguous, or unduly
burdensome; or duplicative of other materials or responses already provided.
In this case, the Court cannot help but note that some of these questions ask
for an opinion as to whether officials involved in maintaining the facility
acted in accordance with certain regulations, or requests information not in
Defendant's control. Where the questions are specific, however, they have been
Indeed, given Claimant's slight clarification of his Demand #4 regarding
asbestos removal in the period between September, 2000 and June, 2001, the
Defendant was able to specifically respond. [See
, Affidavit in Support by
Reginald McFadden, ¶5; Affirmation in Opposition by Assistant Attorney
General, ¶15]. Demand #5 asks: "On or about August 2001, on B-block, until
May 2002, Asbestos was being removed during the changing of the locking system?"
Although not the clearest inquiry, given the context of the demand, and Mr.
McFadden's explanation in both his moving papers and in his Reply papers
, Reply to Defendant's Response by Reginald McFadden, Pages 7-8], the
Defendant should be able to respond to the question using B-Block as the
reference rather than E-Block as it had done in the Response to Interrogatories
, Affirmation in Opposition by Assistant Attorney General, Exhibit
"E"], and is hereby directed to do so.
other respects, the responses to the interrogatories by the Assistant Attorney
General are appropriate given the lack of clarity.
Accordingly, Claimant's motion to compel is hereby granted in part and denied
in part. Defendant is directed to respond to Demand #5 in Claimant's Demand for
Discovery Production of Documents, Interrogatories, within twenty (20) days of
the filing date of this decision.