New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BAKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-009-022, Claim No. 110883, Motion Nos. M-71109, M-71155


Synopsis


Defendant's motion for a Court ordered deposition of claimant was granted.

Case Information

UID:
2006-009-022
Claimant(s):
JEFFREY ALLAN BAKER The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Claimant short name:
BAKER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The Court, sua sponte, has amended the caption to reflect the State of New York as the only proper defendant before this Court.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
110883
Motion number(s):
M-71109, M-71155
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Claimant's attorney:
JEFFREY ALLAN BAKER, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General
BY: Thomas M. Trace, Esq.,
Senior AttorneyOf Counsel.
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 12, 2006
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Defendant has brought a motion (M-71109) seeking an order authorizing the deposition of claimant, an inmate in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services. Claimant has responded with a motion (M-71155) seeking a protective order to prevent the taking of such a deposition. Accordingly, both of these motions will be considered together herein.

The following papers were considered by the Court in connection with these motions:
Notice of Motion, Affirmation (M-71109) 1,2


Notice of Motion, Affidavit in Support (M-71155) 3,4

Affirmation in Opposition (M-71155) 5


Response (Reply) from claimant (M-71155) 6

In this claim, claimant seeks damages for personal injuries allegedly suffered by him when he slipped and fell on April 17, 2004, while incarcerated at Mid-State Correctional Facility. In its motion (M-71109), defendant seeks a Court order authorizing the deposition of claimant in connection with this incident and claim.

Pursuant to CPLR Rule 3106(c), leave of the Court must first be obtained prior to taking the deposition of a prisoner. The purpose of this requirement is to "prevent the disruption of prison routine and to provide a mechanism of court oversight before a correctional facility may be compelled to open its doors for the deposition of one of its prisoners" (Nalbach v McDonald, 244 AD2d 536). In determining whether to issue such an order, the Court must find that the expected testimony of the witness is "relevant and necessary" to the party's preparation for the trial (EDP Medical Computer Systems v Sears, Roebuck & Co., 193 AD2d 645, 646).

In this particular matter, there can be no dispute that a deposition from claimant would provide relevant and necessary testimony pertaining to this claim. Claimant, however, seeks a protective order preventing this deposition pursuant to CPLR § 3103(a), claiming that the taking of the deposition "will cause the claimant unreasonable annoyance, embarrassment, disadvantage, and other prejudice" (see Notice of Motion to M-71155 [Item 3]).

The provisions of the CPLR regulating disclosure devices are to be liberally construed, in order to enable a party to thoroughly prepare for trial. Although claimant has cited language from § 3103(a) in support of his application for a protective order, he has not provided any support for his assertions that he would be unreasonably annoyed, embarrassed, or disadvantaged.

Similarly, claimant has not shown good cause to justify the appointment of a referee to oversee this deposition, as was alternatively requested by claimant in his motion (M-71155).

Accordingly, the Court directs that the defendant may conduct a deposition of claimant, and that such deposition shall be conducted by July 17, 2006, at a place and date to be established by defendant, in conjunction with the Department of Correctional Services.

Therefore, it is

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-71109 is hereby GRANTED, as provided herein; and it is further

ORDERED, that Motion No. M-71155 is hereby DENIED.


April 12, 2006
Syracuse, New York

HON. NICHOLAS V. MIDEY JR.
Judge of the Court of Claims