New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WOODWARD v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK , #2006-028-580, Claim No. 109549, Motion Nos. M-71320, M-71405, M-71508, CM-71608


Synopsis


Synopsis: Claimant's three discovery motions are denied; State's cross-motion for a protective order striking Claimant's interrogatories is granted.

Case Information

UID:
2006-028-580
Claimant(s):
SHAWN WOODWARD
Claimant short name:
WOODWARD
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
109549
Motion number(s):
M-71320, M-71405, M-71508
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-71608
Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant’s attorney:
SHAWN WOODWARD, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Carol A. Cocchiola, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 12, 2006
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were considered by the Court:

1. Addendum to Motion to Compel (M-71320) of Shawn Woodward, pro se

filed February 23, 2006;

2. Affirmation in Opposition of Carol A. Cocchiola, AAG (M-71320) filed April 7, 2006;

3. Notice of Motion for Leave to Submit Bill of Particulars (M-71405) and Affidavit in Support of Shawn Woodward filed March 6, 2006;

4. Affirmation in Opposition of Carol A. Cocchiola, AAG (M-71405) filed April 7, 2006;

5. Notice of Motion (M-71508) and Affidavit in Support of Shawn Woodward filed March 31, 2006 with annexed exhibit;

6. Notice of Cross-Motion and Affirmation in Opposition to Motion to Compel
(M-71508) and in Support of Cross-Motion for Protective Order (CM-71608) of

Carol A. Cocchiola, AAG filed April 24, 2006.


Filed Papers: Claim filed June 29, 2004; Verified Answer filed August 2, 2004.


This Decision and Order addresses Claimant's three pending discovery motions. The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes all three motions and cross-moves for a protective order pursuant to CPLR § 3103.

This Claim arises from Claimant's alleged slip and fall in the shower area of A-block in Southport Correctional Facility on April 12, 2004. Claimant previously moved for an order compelling the Defendant to respond to his Notice for Discovery and Inspection dated September 7, 2004. This Court found the State's discovery responses were proper and denied Claimant's motion to compel (Woodward v State of New York, Ct Cl, January 17, 2006, Sise, P.J., Claim No. 109549, Motion No. M-71011 [UID No. 2006-028-510]).[1]
  1. Claimant's "Addendum to Motion to Compel" (M-71320)
Claimant's first motion is entitled "Addendum to Motion to Compel" which the Court deems as Claimant's attempt to make a motion for reargument or renewal with respect to his prior motion to compel.[2] However, Claimant's motion fails to comply with the mandate of CPLR § 2221(f) requiring that "[a] combined motion for leave to reargue and leave to renew shall identify separately and support separately each item of relief sought." Nevertheless, a motion for reargument is "[d]esigned to afford a party an opportunity to establish that the court overlooked or misapprehended the relevant facts, or misapplied any controlling principle of law" (Foley v Roche, 68 AD2d 558, 567 [1979]; CPLR § 2221 [d]). Such motions are not casually granted since it is not a tool to "[a]fford an unsuccessful party successive opportunities to reargue issues previously decided or to present arguments different from those originally asserted [citation omitted]" (Matter of Mayer v National Arts Club, 192 AD2d 863, 865 [1993]). Here, Claimant offers nothing indicating the Court overlooked or misapprehended the relevant facts or misapplied any controlling principle of law originally presented to warrant reargument of said prior Decision and Order. Claimant's motion for reargument is denied.

To the extent that Claimant's motion can be construed as a motion to renew under CPLR § 2221 (e) it is denied as well. By statutory amendment, it is mandated that a renewal application "[s]hall contain reasonable justification for the failure to present such facts on the prior motion" (CPLR § 2221 [e] [3]). Here, Claimant offers no justification for his failure to include any additional details with his original motion and said failure warrants denial of the motion in and of itself (Delvecchio v Bayside Chrysler Plymouth Jeep Eagle, 271 AD2d 636, 638 [2000]).
  1. Claimant's Motion for Leave to Submit Bill of Particulars (M-71405)
Claimant requests permission to serve a demand for a bill of particulars upon the State because he “[h]as already sent defendant’s attorney a list of interrogatories...” (Notice of Motion for Leave to Submit Bill of Particulars). CPLR § 3130 (1) states, in pertinent part, that “[e]xcept

in a matrimonial action, a party may not serve written interrogatories on another party and also

demand a bill of particulars of the same party pursuant to section 3041.” Here, Claimant may not serve a demand for a bill of particulars since he has already served interrogatories upon the Defendant. Consequently, Claimant’s motion for permission to serve a demand for a bill of particulars is denied.
  1. Claimant's Motion to Compel (M-71508) & State's Cross-Motion for a Protective Order (CM-71608)
Claimant's third motion seeks to compel the State to respond to his interrogatories dated March 13, 2006 pursuant to CPLR § 3130. The State concedes that it has yet to respond to the interrogatories, but cross-moves for a protective order striking Claimant's interrogatories.

Claimant's interrogatories are comprised of 8 handwritten pages containing 47 questions (Interrogatories annexed to M-71508). The various questions request, among other things, the State's opinions and interpretation of various directives, as well as posing hypotheticals situations. In short, the Court finds that Claimant's interrogatories are improper for these and the other reasons outlined by the State (Blank v Schafrann, 180 AD2d 886, 887-888 [1992]). Additionally, the Court finds Claimant's demands amount to nothing more than a method of harassment with repetitive requests and/or information that goes beyond the scope of normal discovery. Moreover, it is not the function of the Court to prune the interrogatories, rather the interrogatories should be and will be vacated in its entirety (Blasi v Marine Midland Bank of Southeastern N.Y., N.A., 59 AD2d 932 [1977]; Rush v Insogna, 119 AD2d 879, 880 [1986]).

Consequently, Claimant's motion to compel a response to interrogatories is denied and the State's cross-motion for a protective order striking Claimant's interrogatories is granted.

In sum, in view of the foregoing, it is ORDERED as follows:

(1) Claimant's Addendum to Motion to Compel, M-71320, is DENIED;

(2) Claimant's Motion for Leave to Submit Bill of Particulars, M-71405, is DENIED;

(3) Claimant's Motion to Compel a response to his interrogatories, M-71508, is DENIED; and

(4) State's Cross-Motion for Protective Order striking Claimant's interrogatories, CM-71608, is GRANTED.



October 12, 2006
Albany, New York

HON. RICHARD E. SISE
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1].Selected unreported decisions from the Court of Claims are available via the Internet at http://www.nyscourtofclaims.state.ny.us/decision.htm
[2].The Court is treating this motion as a separate and distinct motion, rather than as a reply to Motion No. M-71011. Claimant's previous motion, M-71011, was returnable on December 28, 2005. Claimant's "Addendum to Motion to Compel" was filed on February 23, 2006. The Court finds that the State would be prejudiced if the Court were to accept Claimant's papers as reply papers almost two months after the return date (CPLR § 2214 [c]; 22 NYCRR § 206.9 [b]).