New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MURRAY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-015-092, Claim No. 110923, Motion No. M-71123


Synopsis


Discovery motion seeking inter alia investigative reports of claimant's prior grievance denied.

Case Information

UID:
2006-015-092
Claimant(s):
JOEL MURRAY
Claimant short name:
MURRAY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
110923
Motion number(s):
M-71123
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Joel Murray Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Michael W. Friedman, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
June 7, 2006
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant's motion for an order compelling the defendant to produce information and documents in response to claimant's demand[1] dated October 25, 2005 is granted in part and denied in part as set forth below. This claim seeks to recover money damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the malpractice/negligence of medical personnel employed by the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS). Specifically, claimant alleges that on March 22, 2005 at approximately 9:45 a.m. he experienced pain in his esophagus/stomach area while he was in the law library at Great Meadow Correctional Facility. He requested emergency sick call but when the correction officer on duty in the law library telephoned the infirmary the medical staff purportedly refused to see claimant on an emergent basis. Claimant further alleged that he was denied emergency sick call on many other occasions at Great Meadow largely because he complained and filed grievances concerning the alleged denial of emergency medical care on numerous prior occasions.

Claimant further alleges in the claim that the defendant is liable for medical malpractice/negligence in failing to properly diagnose and treat a medical condition involving "Bacteria, Urine, Mucus, Urine . . . in Claimant['s] esophagus/stomach." He also alleges that DOCS personnel were deliberately indifferent to his varied medical problems and disregarded a recommendation for a brain scan contained in a radiology report by Matthew K. Kwiatek, M.D. He avers that the denial of emergency sick call on March 22, 2005 constituted cruel and unusual punishment[2].

In its response to the claimant's initial demand the State asserted that "Defendant objects to each and every request on the bases that the requests are overly broad, unduly burdensome, unfocused and apparently seek information which would invade the personal privacy of individuals other than the claimant" (defendant's Exhibit B). Claimant, being dissatisfied with the State's prior written responses to his demands, has moved for an order compelling further responses.

Attached as Exhibit E to the State's papers in opposition to claimant's motion is a newly fashioned "Response to Claimant's Production of Documents" which defense counsel argues renders the instant motion moot. In his reply affidavit claimant asserts that the defendant's new responses are evasive, incomplete and inadequate.

Upon its review the Court finds the State's response to claimant's demand seeking the full name, badge number and title of the correction officer on duty in the Law Library at Great Meadow on March 22, 2005 (at approximately 9:45 a.m.) is inadequate since the identity of the correction officer is clearly material and necessary to the prosecution of claimant's case (Hunter v Tryzbinski, 278 AD2d 844; Parsons v Borden, Inc., 273 AD2d 749). Defendant shall identify the officer by name, title and badge number within 45 days of receipt of this decision and order or shall state in writing why his/her identity cannot be disclosed.

In demands 2 - 25 claimant sought the production of investigative reports of the following grievances:


June 7, 2006
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:
  1. Notice of motion dated December 15, 2005;
  2. Affidavit of Joel Murray sworn to December 15, 2005 with exhibits;
  3. Affirmation in opposition of Michael W. Friedman dated March 3, 2006 with exhibits;
  4. Affidavit of Joel Murray sworn to March 13, 2006 with exhibits.

[1].Although characterized by the claimant as interrogatories (see CPLR 3130), with the exception of question No. 1 the demand is more properly classified as one for discovery and inspection of documents pursuant to CPLR 3120 (1).
[2].The claim does not specify whether the constitutional claim is made under the United States Constitution over which this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction (Brown v State of New York, 89 NY2d 172) or under the New York State Constitution.