New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MEDINA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-019-533, Claim No. 104005, Motion No. M-69927


Claimant's motion for the issuance of subpoenas compelling the production of witnesses and documents at damages trial on bailment claim is denied.

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:
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Carol A. Cocchiola, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 2, 2005

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, moves for the production of various witnesses and documents at his damages trial which the court deems as a request for the issuance of trial subpoenas pursuant to CPLR 2302. The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes the motion. A trial on the sole issue of damages has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 30, 2005 at the Elmira Correctional Facility.

This court previously granted claimant summary judgment on the issue of liability for his missing gold chain and medal. (Medina v State of New York, Ct Cl, January 20, 2005, Lebous, J., Claim No. 104005, Motion No. M-69409 [UID No. 2005-019-503]).[1] Thus, the only remaining issue for trial is the damages, if any, to which claimant is entitled for the loss of his gold chain and medal.

Now, claimant seeks the production of five witnesses, together with various documents, at his damages trial. Claimant has set forth the reasons he believes each individual and/or document is necessary for his damages trial.

Claimant's request for subpoenas for inspector general investigator George Santiago; the Clinton Correctional Facility inmate record's coordinator; the Southport Correctional Facility counselor, Mr. Service; and Elmira Correctional Facility counselor, W. Bills, will be discussed together since each raises similar issues. With respect to each of these individuals, claimant explains that he needs their respective testimony to establish that the State possessed his property at one time or another or, stated another way, to establish liability. However, this court has already granted claimant summary judgment on liability. Consequently, none of these proposed witnesses is material and relevant on the issue of damages and, as such, claimant's motion for the issuance of subpoenas for these four individuals is denied. For the same reason, claimant's requests for his personal property lists from Clinton Correctional Facility and Southport Correctional Facility are not material and relevant on the issue of damages and are denied as well.

Claimant also seeks a subpoena for an inmate with the same last name as his, one Joseph Medina.[2] Claimant has previously complained to this court that the correctional facilities are continually sending his mail, including legal mail regarding this claim, to inmate Joseph Medina and vice versa. Claimant now states that he believes that the original jewelry receipt for his missing items may have gone to Joseph Medina by mistake. More specifically, claimant requests that Joseph Medina be "[p]roduced to testify that he, and not claimant, wrongfully received original jewelry receipt, that claimant needs for trial. To find out if he still has it in his belongings, and what, if anything did he do with it...." (Claimant's Affidavit, p 3). The court notes that in connection with his prior motion for summary judgment, claimant had indicated he would produce the original receipt at trial if he was able to retrieve the same from the inmate record's coordinator. It is unclear why claimant now believes Joseph Medina possesses his original receipt compared to his earlier statement that it was in the possession of the inmate record's coordinator. The court finds that claimant's belief that another inmate may possess his original receipt is too speculative and, as such, the court denies claimant's request for a subpoena for inmate Joseph Medina.

Parenthetically, the court notes that in connection with the prior motion for summary judgment claimant attempted to establish damages by submitting a photocopy of a receipt for the missing chain and medal. The State objected to the admissibility of said receipt arguing that the same was not evidence in admissible form and, in any event, was partially illegible.[3] That having been said, however, claimant may testify at trial regarding the loss of his original receipt as a foundation for the admissibility as secondary evidence of the photocopy of his receipt. (57 NY Jur 2d, Evidence, § 247).

Accordingly, in light of the foregoing, it is ORDERED that claimant's motion for the issuance of subpoenas compelling the production of witnesses and documents at trial, Motion No. M-69927, is DENIED.

May 2, 2005
Binghamton, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:

  1. DECISION AND ORDER, Lebous, J., Claim No. 104005, Motion No. M-69409, filed February 9, 2005.
  2. Notice of Motion No. M-69927, dated March 23, 2005, and filed March 28, 2005.
  3. Affidavit of Jose Medina, in support of motion, dated and verified March 23, 2005.
  4. Affirmation of Carol A. Cocchiola, AAG, in opposition to motion, dated April 15, 2005, and filed April 18, 2005.
  5. Reply Affidavit of Jose Medina, sworn to May 3, 2005, unfiled, with attachments.

[1]Selected unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the Internet at

[2]For clarification, claimant's department identification number (DIN#) is 94-A-5148, while inmate Joseph Medina's DIN # is 77-A-0254.
[3]In the prior Decision and Order this court stated "[a]lthough the court is able to read portions of the receipt [footnote omitted], an integral part of the court's consideration of the fair market value of the missing chain and medal will be claimant's testimony." (Medina, p 3).