New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

LAMAGE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-037, Claim No. 108580, Motion No. M-68182


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:
Edwin Lamage, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, NYS Attorney General
By: Paul F. Cagino, Assistant Attorney General,Of Counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 3, 2004

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This claim seeks compensation for a number of alleged wrongs said to have occurred at several different State correctional facilities at various times during 2003. Claimant asserts causes of action for wrongful confinement (keeplock and SHU), illegal use of mechanical restraints, loss of outdoor exercise, and assault.

By this motion, claimant seeks an order directing defendant to provide a satisfactory response to interrogatories directed to three correctional officials, first served on defendant in February 2004, and to produce documents that, claimant states, were first demanded in December 2003. Defendant has served, and filed with the court responses to two sets of interrogatories and a response to the December 2003 demand for disclosure. Claimant contends that none of these responses are adequate.

With respect to the interrogatories, counsel for defendant has agreed to obtain responses to those that are directed to Correction Officer John Martin and Lieutenant David Armitage. Counsel requests, however, that the Court not require a response to those directed to Dale Artus, Superintendent of Clinton Correctional Facility. As counsel notes, the Superintendent would not have personal knowledge of events about which claimant is inquiring. In general, requiring an agency or facility's top administrator to respond to interrogatories, submit to a deposition or serve as a witness in any and all actions arising within their agency or facility would be burdensome and inappropriate (see generally, Matter of Miller v Goord, 1 AD3d 647 [3d Dept 2003]; Vividize, Inc. v Modern Litho, Inc., 59 AD2d 616 [2d Dept 1977]; Long Island College Hospital v Whalen, 55 AD2d 792 [3d Dept 1976]; Brown v State of New York, UID #2001-015-136, Claim No. 103284, Motion Nos. M-62961, CM-62991, April 4, 2001, Collins, J.).

Three of the documents sought by claimant – records of his disciplinary hearing and two grievances – are items that would be contained in his personal file, a file that is located in the facility where an inmate resides and which moves with him if he is transferred. Counsel for defendant explained in his response to the demand and again in his affirmation in opposition to this motion that these records can be inspected by claimant directly upon a written request sent to the facility's Inmate Records Coordinator. One demand seeks the record of another inmate's disciplinary hearing. The contents of an inmate's facility file are not to be shared with other inmates unless 1) there is a signed permission or waiver from the inmate whose file it is, or 2) there is a formal motion, with notice to that inmate, and a judicial determination that disclosure or in camera inspection is warranted. Defendant would not be able to simply hand over documents that are part of another inmate's file, and consequently the demand is improper and stricken.

Claimant's motion is granted, to the extent that defendant shall respond to interrogatories addressed to Correction Officer John Martin and Lieutenant David Armitage, and otherwise the motion is denied.

June 3, 2004
Albany, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims