New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SMITH v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-034-545, Claim No. 106268, Motion No. M-67625


Synopsis


Case Information

UID:
2004-034-545
Claimant(s):
MARVIN SMITH
Claimant short name:
SMITH
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106268
Motion number(s):
M-67625
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
MICHAEL E. HUDSON
Claimant's attorney:
MARVIN SMITH, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: THOMAS G. RAMSAY, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 28, 2004
City:
Buffalo
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant filed this motion pursuant to CPLR 3124, seeking to compel discovery. The Court hereby grants the motion, in part.

The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion.

1. Claim, verified June 6, 2002, filed June 24, 2002;

2. Answer, affirmed July 8, 2002, filed July 10, 2002;

3. Claimant's Notice for Discovery and Inspection, and Affidavit in Support for Discovery and Inspection, sworn to February 18, 2003, filed February 24, 2003;

4. Response to Demands, affirmed March 21, 2003, filed March 24, 2003;

5. Notice of Motion to Compel Discovery, dated October 31, 2003, filed November 10, 2003;

6. Affidavit in Support of Motion to Compel Discovery of Marvin Smith, sworn to October 31, 2003;

7. Affirmation in Opposition of Thomas G. Ramsay, affirmed November 25, 2003, filed November 28, 2003, with attached exhibits.


The underlying Claim arose on October 4, 2001, in the 14 Company at Attica Correctional Facility. Claimant has alleged that Defendant was negligent in allowing him to be assaulted by a number of unknown inmate assailants. Claimant served a Notice for Discovery and Inspection on Defendant seeking nine items. Defendant supplied responses to seven of the nine items; either providing the names requested or offering to produce the requested record upon payment of the appropriate photocopying fee.

Two items of disclosure are the subject of this motion: item B which seeks "The first and last names of each correctional officer at Attica Correctional Facility that was assigned to 15 and 16 Company on October 4, 2001, in housing block "B" from the hours to 7: A.M. through 2: P.M." and item I which seeks "The first and last names of each inmate including prison numbers and photographs that were housed in B-Block Company 14 on October 4, 2001, looking in cells 30, 32, 11, 41, 25, 26, and 35."

Defendant has opposed disclosure of both items on the grounds that the demands are overly broad, irrelevant and may compromise security. Although CPLR 3101 (a) provides for "full disclosure," the items sought must be relevant and must be material and necessary, and must be specified with reasonable particularity so as not to be unduly burdensome to the party which must comply with the request. The Court finds Claimant's demand in item B to be material to the issues in the case and limited in scope, and will grant that item of discovery. However, demand I is overly broad and improper particularly in that the cause of action is directed towards the alleged negligence of prison officials in their duties, and not assaultive conduct by inmates at the facility (see generally Kern v City of Rochester, 261 AD2d 904, 905 [1999]; Community Dev. Assn. v Warren-Hoffman & Assoc., 4 AD3d 755 [2004]). For those reasons the disclosure demanded in item B is granted, and that sought in item I is denied.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant is ordered to produce responsive documents as described in this Decision and Order within 45 days of the filing date of this Decision and Order.

May 28, 2004
Buffalo, New York

HON. MICHAEL E. HUDSON
Judge of the Court of Claims