New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MEDINA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-032-095, Claim No. 106664, Motion No. M-68786


Synopsis


Motion to reargue prior decision that granted in part and denied in part a motion to compel results in some modifications of the prior order.


Case Information

UID:
2004-032-095
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY MEDINA
Claimant short name:
MEDINA
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106664
Motion number(s):
M-68786
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JUDITH A. HARD
Claimant's attorney:
Anthony Medina, 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:
November 15, 2004
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

In a decision and order dated June 14, 2004, this Court granted in part and denied in part claimant's prior motion to compel certain disclosure (Medina v State of New York, #2004-032-045, Claim No. 106664, Motion No. M-68123). By the instant motion, claimant seeks to reargue certain portions of that prior decision, contending that the Court misinterpreted the law and/or the facts of the case (CPLR 2221).

One item in dispute is demand 1(d) of claimant's July 24, 2003 demand for certain identified directives[1] of the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS). Counsel for defendant had stated that these directives were available to claimant at the facility law library. This was considered to be a sufficient response and provided claimant with adequate access to the materials. Claimant now states, however, that the specific directives that he seeks are "A" directives and that only "AB" directives are available to the general population (Medina affidavit, ¶A(3)). In response, defense counsel states that the directives sought by claimant – Nos. 4944, 4004, 4065, 2110 and 2111 – are "classified as confidential for security purposes and he [claimant] cannot have them."

Contrary to the contention of defense counsel, reargument is proper with respect to this demand, for the Court did, in fact, misapprehend a relevant fact. Based on defense counsel's representations, the Court concluded that the items sought by claimant were available to him in the facility law library. Now, claimant asserts, and counsel confirms, that this is not an accurate account of the situation. Furthermore, it is for the Court, not defense counsel, to determine whether a claimant can have a certain document. The same is true with respect to the argument that these directives are not relevant to claimant's case: it is not possible for the Court to determine if they are relevant without first seeing them.

Accordingly, the original ruling on this issue is vacated and the Court now directs that defendant produce, for in camera inspection by the Court, the directives that have been identified by claimant. Defendant is to submit two copies of each directive to the Court, one of which is unredacted and the other 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 further directions indicating what, if any, portion of the documents in question should be provided to claimant.

With respect to demand 1(i), claimant has now narrowed his demand, which was originally for "any and all ‘TO and FROM' reports" to indicate that the reports he seeks are dated August 13, 2002 and the parties by whom the reports are filed. Defense counsel asserts that this step is not proper on a motion to reargue. The Court, however, has broad discretion to monitor and control discovery matters and, to save additional time and effort on the part of all, directs that these documents, with respect to which no other objection to disclosure has been raised, be provided to claimant.

Relating to demand 1(m), claimant again narrows his request to encompass only the pages of the DOCS Employees' Manual that have been removed from the copy available in the prison law library, asserting that these portions would be relevant to the instant action because the rules therein relate to the officers' conduct. Since it is not possible for claimant to argue or the Court to rule on the relevance of documents that have not been seen, defendant is directed to provide the Court with two copies of the missing pages, one copy of which is to be redacted in the manner described above. Alternatively, if there are a large number of pages that have been removed from the law library copy, defendant may initially serve a list of the titles of those pages and the Court will select those of which it wants a full copy.

Finally, demands 1(a), (b), (c), (d), and (e), of claimant's September 23, 2003 demand, seek the personnel records of DOCS correction officers and other employees. The Court adheres to its original ruling with respect to these items, denying the request on the grounds that the relevance of any information contained in those files is questionable and, in any event, that any disclosure of such files can be obtained only by following the procedures set out in Civil Rights Law §50-a.

The Court has reconsidered its prior ruling and, upon reconsideration, amends it in the manner described above. Claimant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.




November 15, 2004
Albany, New York

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


The following papers were read on claimant's motion to reargue a prior decision and order of this Court:

1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of Anthony Medina, pro se;

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Paul F. Cagino, Esq., AAG;

Filed papers: Claim; Answer; Decision and Order: Medina v State of New York, #2004-032-045, Claim No. 106664, Motion No. M-68123, June 14, 2004, Hard, J.



[1]Regulations establish procedures for and implement the statutes applicable to the agency (see, e.g., Jones v Berman, 37 NY2d 42, 54[1975] ["Administrative agencies can only promulgate rules to further the implementation of the law as it exists; they have no authority to create a rule out of harmony with the statute or [statutes being implemented]." and cases citing thereto). Regulations are enacted by the formal procedure outlined in State Administrative Procedure Act §§201 et seq. (see, Robinson v Perales, 166 AD2d 594, 597, appeal den. 78 NY2d 851). Directives, on the other hand, are less formal and are developed by the agency without a standard, formalized procedure. Typically, an agency directive will establish procedures for and in other ways implement a regulation, although in some cases a directive and a regulation may be identical (see, e.g., 7 NYCRR §305.4 and DOCS Directive 4933).