New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DAVIDSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-019, Claim No. 105494, Motion No. M-67554


Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Chester Davidson, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney General
By: Kathleen M. Resnick, Assistant Attorney General,Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 19, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This is a claim for personal property loss that is alleged to have occurred at Franklin Correctional Facility in September or October of 2001, while claimant was incarcerated in the facility's Special Housing Unit (SHU). It is alleged that correction officials failed to adequately secure claimant's property when he was escorted to SHU and that when he was released he received only four of the five property bags that he had stored.

By this motion, claimant seeks an order compelling defendant to produce for discovery and inspection a written policy or procedure allowing or requiring officials to consolidate property of inmates in the SHU to preserve storage space. This procedure is referenced in the two exhibits attached to claimant's affidavit:

1) a November 2, 2001 memorandum from Sgt. K. Harrigan to Capt. Crawford, which states that he and a Correction Officer Underwood explained to claimant "the SHU procedure of consolidating property due to lack of storage space", and

2) a written statement of the same date from Corrections Officer Underwood, explaining that due to storage restraints "the procedure in Building 16 is to condense inmates property to four bags."

Inasmuch as this procedure or policy was used to explain to claimant why he received four, rather than five, property bags on his release from SHU, its relevance and materiality is not questioned.

In opposition to the motion, counsel for the State informs the Court that a document entitled "Franklin Correctional Facility FOM #10.03, ‘Building 16 Procedures SHU'" appears to be the item sought by claimant. This document is listed as a "Distribution A" document, which means that it can be shared with all staff members who hold a Policy and Procedure Manual but that it is not to be distributed to inmate libraries" (Resnick affirmation, ¶6). Consequently, counsel argues, the document cannot be produced because it involves the security of the facility and is confidential.

Because there is a document in existence that is responsive to claimant's demand and is material and relevant to the litigation, the proper approach would be to have defendant submit two copies of that document to the Court for in camera inspection. One copy should be unredacted, and the second copy should be redacted in the manner that the State believes would both present the information relevant to this claim and, at the same time, protect any security interests or confidential information. After reviewing these documents, the Court will issue a further directive indicating what, if any, portion of the document in question should be provided to claimant.

Claimant's motion is granted to the extent set forth above.

March 19, 2004
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read on claimant's motion for an order compelling certain discovery:
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of Chester Davidson, pro se, with annexed Exhibit

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Kathleen M. Resnick, Esq., AAG, with annexed Exhibit

Filed papers: Claim; Answer