New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BLACK v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-031-083, Claim No. 108112, Motion No. M-67871


Synopsis


Claimant's discovery demands are improper and vexatious. Defendant's motion for a protective order is granted

Case Information

UID:
2004-031-083
Claimant(s):
THEADORE BLACKS a/k/a T. BLACK To ensure proper distribution and receipt of all inmate correspondence, Claimant's name is reflected as indicated in Department of Correctional Services' records.
Claimant short name:
BLACK
Footnote (claimant name) :
To ensure proper distribution and receipt of all inmate correspondence, Claimant's name is reflected as indicated in Department of Correctional Services' records.
Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
108112
Motion number(s):
M-67871
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
THEADORE BLACKS, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: HEATHER R. RUBINSTEIN, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 22, 2004
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

.
Decision

The following papers, numbered 1 to 5, were read on motion by Defendant for an order of protection pursuant to CPLR § 3103:
1) Notice of Motion, filed January 9, 2004;
2) Affirmation of Heather R. Rubinstein, Esq., dated January 6, 2004, with attached exhibits;
  1. Claimant's unsworn statement, dated January 8, 2004;
4) Claimant's Memorandum of Law, dated January 8, 2004;
5) Filed Documents: Claim and Verified Answer. In his underlying claim in this action, filed on August 7, 2003, Mr. Black alleges that he was assaulted by a correction officer at Auburn Correctional Facility on June 16, 2003. Subsequently, after being transferred to Upstate Correctional Facility, he discovered on July 7, 2003, that, due to the alleged negligence of the State in handling his belongings, some items of his personal property were missing.

With this motion, Defendant seeks an order of protection pursuant to CPLR § 3103, relating to certain discovery demands served by Claimant. The demands in question are: Claimant's second set of interrogatories dated December 5, 2003; Claimant's third set of interrogatories dated December 5, 2003; Claimant's second demand for admissions dated December 15, 2003; Claimant's third demand for admissions dated December 17, 2003; and Claimant's fourth demand for admissions dated December 18, 2003.

Defendant argues that the two sets of interrogatories in question are improper because they are "vague, confusing" and "not relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence" (Rubinstein Aff., par. 9). Defendant objects to the three demands for admissions because they relate to fundamental issues to be resolved at trial and not merely the disposition of undisputed questions of fact.

In his opposition to this motion, Claimant asserts that his demands are relevant and that the motion is only intended to hinder discovery (Claimant's Statement, p. 1).

I find that Defendant's motion should be granted. Both sets of interrogatories at issue are improper and unduly burdensome. Likewise Defendant correctly asserts that "Claimant is attempting to try his case through the use of a Notice to Admit" (Rubinstein Aff., par. 10). CPLR § 3123 provides that a party may request another party to admit the "truth of any matters of fact . . . as to which the party requesting the admission reasonably believes there can be no substantial dispute at the trial . . ." It is well established that "[a] notice to admit pursuant to CPLR 3123(a) is to be used only for disposing of uncontroverted questions of fact or those that are easily provable, not for the purpose of compelling admission of fundamental and material issues or ultimate facts that can only be resolved after a full trial (Meadowbrook-Richman, Inc. v Cicchiello, 273 AD2d 6). Claimant's requests seek admissions relating to contested facts that go to the essence of the dispute between the parties or go beyond the scope of inquiry intended for this disclosure device.

Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby,

ORDERED, that Defendant's motion for a protective order is granted.

June 22, 2004
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims