New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

DOBBIN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2006-028-584, Claim No. 106779, Motion No. M-71587


Synopsis


Motion to strike discovery demands made immediately prior to trial is denied. Even though pro se inmate Claimants are not required to file and serve a Note of Issue, the Court has inherent power to control its calendar and therefore sets deadlines for any remaining discovery demands and responses to such demands.


Case Information

UID:
2006-028-584
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY DOBBIN
Claimant short name:
DOBBIN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106779
Motion number(s):
M-71587
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RICHARD E. SISE
Claimant’s attorney:
ANTHONY DOBBIN, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Kevan J. Acton, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 2, 2006
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following papers were read on Defendant’s motion for an order striking Claimant’s demand for expert disclosure, demand for document discovery, and interrogatories:

1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affirmation of Kevan J. Acton, AAG


2. Affidavit in Opposition (“Response”) of Anthony Dobbin, pro se


Filed papers: Claim; Answer This claim is based on allegations that in 2001 and 2002, while Claimant was incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility, he received inadequate and improper medical treatment of a skin condition, resulting in an extended period of discomfort and in permanent discoloration of his skin. The claim was filed and served in October, 2002, and issue was joined the following month. During the following years, Claimant was moved from one correctional facility to another rather frequently, and he always informed the Court of his new address.

By letter dated February 24, 2006, the parties were notified that this action would be tried on May 5, via videoconferencing from Clinton Correctional Facility.[1] According to Claimant’s response to the motion, Defendant served some discovery demand on Claimant in March 2006 (Dobbin affidavit, ¶1). According to Defendant’s papers, Claimant served a demand for expert disclosure, a demand for document discovery and interrogatories on Defendant on April 12, 2006 (Acton affirmation, ¶ 2). Claimant apparently raised no objection to the March 2006 demand that he received, but counsel for Defendant has moved to strike the April 2006 demands as untimely, in that they were served so close to the trial date.

As counsel accurately notes, a prisoner pro se litigant in this Court is not required to serve and file a Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness (22 NYCRR § 206.12[a]). Consequently, there is no point that the parties formally attest that discovery is complete and the matter ready for trial (see Siegel, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Con Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C3402:5, at 16-17). On the other hand, courts have considerable inherent power to control their calendars (M.D. v Pasadena Realty Co., 300 AD2d 235 [1st Dept 2002]; Zeitin v Greenberg, Margolis, Ziegler, Schwartz, Dratch, Fishman, Franzblau & Falkin, 262 AD2d 406 [2d Dept 1999]), and this power would include the ability to place some realistic time limit on the parties’ ability to conduct discovery.

Because neither party has submitted a copy of the demands in question, it is impossible for the Court to determine if the material and information being sought is relevant, critical to the case and/or something that Claimant, who bears the burden of proving his case, should reasonably have obtained sometime within the three and a half years that this case has been pending.

Defendant’s motion is DENIED, without prejudice to either party’s right to bring a similar motion on proper papers. In addition, the parties are directed to serve and file all remaining discovery demands within 45 days of the date this Decision and Order is filed-stamped and to provide responses to such demands within 90 days of that date.


October 2, 2006
Albany, New York

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




[1]. This trial was subsequently adjourned sine die.