New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HALL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-010, Claim No. 107826, Motion No. M-67555


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-032-010
Claimant(s):
GARY HALL
Claimant short name:
HALL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107826
Motion number(s):
M-67555
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney:
Gary Hall, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, Assistant Attorney General,Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 17, 2004
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

This is an action for personal injury that occurred at Clinton Correctional Facility when claimant was burned by having a hot substance thrown on him by another inmate. The claim was filed on June 4, 2003, after claimant successfully moved for permission to file an untimely claim (Decision and Order in No. M-66292, filed May 7, 2003, Hard, J.).


By this motion, claimant seeks an order compelling defendant to produce certain items and documents for discovery and inspection. It does not appear, however, that claimant ever served the State with such a demand. A motion to compel discovery is appropriate only if and when a party "fails to respond to or comply with" a legitimate discovery demand (CPLR 3124). Consequently, this motion is inappropriate and premature. Pro se inmates, unlike other litigants in this Court, are not required to confer with the assigned judge prior to commencing any discovery (Rule 206.8(b) of the Uniform Rules for the Court of Claims [22 NYCRR §206.8(b)]). They must, however, serve a proper discovery demand, and defendant must fail to respond to the demand after a reasonable period of time has elapsed. Here, defendant has not yet been asked to provide the documents in question, and consequently the motion is inappropriate and premature.

Claimant should also note that his efforts to obtain certain documents through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request is a completely separate process from traditional discovery procedures. "[T]he standing of one who seeks access to records under the Freedom of Information Law is as a member of the public, and is neither enhanced nor restricted because he is also a litigant or potential litigant" (Matter of John P. v Whalen, 54 NY2d 89, 99 [1981] [citations omitted]), and the standing of one who seeks to discover records under the discovery provisions of CPLR article 31 as a litigant is neither enhanced nor restricted because as a member of the public he may have access to those records under FOIL (Moussa v State of New York, 91 AD2d 863 [4th Dept 1982]).

Claimant's motion is denied as premature.



February 17, 2004
Albany, New York

HON. JUDITH A. HARD
Judge of the Court of Claims



The following papers were read on claimant's motion to compel certain discovery:
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Documents

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Saul Aronson, Esq., AAG

Filed papers: Claim; Answer