New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GREEN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-015-256, Claim No. 113099, Motion No. M-73889


Synopsis


Pro se claimant's motion for sanctions pursuant to CPLR 3126 was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2007-015-256
Claimant(s):
SHAWN GREEN
Claimant short name:
GREEN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
113099
Motion number(s):
M-73889
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Shawn Green, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Michael T. Krenrich, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
December 11, 2007
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, moves for the imposition of monetary sanctions pursuant to CPLR 3126 as the result of the defendant's alleged failure to adequately respond to interrogatories. The claim sets forth causes of action for wrongful confinement and bailment. On February 2, 2007 the claimant served interrogatories upon the defendant. The defendant served a response to the interrogatories on April 19, 2007. The claimant thereafter served a "reply" to the defendant's response to interrogatories which references interrogatories numbered 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. While the purpose or intent of the claimant's "reply" is unclear, the Court will interpret the document as asserting that the defendant's responses to the referenced paragraphs were inadequate and that additional disclosure is required. The claimant now seeks monetary sanctions for the defendant's allegedly "deliberate misleading course of conduct".

The subject interrogatories and corresponding responses are as follows:
4. "State the officer(s) name and date(s) claimant were issued television and hot pot permits at Great Meadow in August, 2006."

ANSWER: The State objects to this question as being irrelevant. The claim makes no mention of a television or hot pot. . . . .

7. "State the medical personal name(s) and date(s) claimant were issued prescription medication and medical diet after admission to SHU on November 15, 2006 at Great Meadow".

ANSWER: Christa Burda, RN 11-15-06

(diet)

Richard Knight, RN 11-15-06

(diet)

Kimberly Bayer, RN 11-24-06

(meds)

8. "State the type of treatment, if any claimant received for feet and skin disorders during confinement to SHU from November 15 to December 1, 2006 at Great Meadow.

ANSWER: Sustained laceration above Left eye (11-15-06). Cleansed with normal saline and steri-strips applied.

Complained of dry skin-feet, refuses cream offered 11-25-06.

9. "State any and all prescription medication as well as medical treatment claimant received from May 1, to August 9, 2006."

ANSWER: The State objects to this question as being irrelevant. The earliest cause of action within the claim accrued on October 16, 2006.
  1. "State the items claimant purchase [sic] at Great Meadow commissary on September 21, 2006."
ANSWER: The State objects to this question as being irrelevant. The earliest cause of action within the claim accrued October 16, 2006.
  1. "State the type and amount of food items confiscated from claimant [sic] personal property on November 21, 2006 at Great Meadow by facility staff."
ANSWER: Inmate Green did not receive a package on 11-21-06 at Great Meadows.
  1. "State the items as well as amount for each listed among claimant [sic] personal property transferred forms prepared in May, 2006 at Southport Correctional Facility."
ANSWER: The State objects to this question as being irrelevant. The earliest cause of action within the claim accrued on October 16, 2006.
Sanctions may be appropriate where a party "refuses to obey an order for disclosure or willfully fails to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosed" (CPLR 3126). While the nature and the degree of the sanction is a matter that rests within the court's discretion, sanctions are inappropriate absent a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery was willful, contumacious or in bad faith (Gillen v Utica First Ins. Co., 41 AD3d 647 [2007][absent clear showing that failure to answer interrogatories was in bad faith, denial of motion to strike the defendant's answer was a provident exercise of discretion; Negro v St. Charles Hosp. & Rehabilitation Ctr., 44 AD3d 727 [2007][failure to disclose which was the result of disorganization and ineptitude of plaintiff's counsel did not warrant the imposition of sanctions; cf, O'Brien v Clark Equip. Co., 25 AD3d 958 [2006] [prolonged willful failure to provide certain discovery warranted sanctions).

Here, there is no indication that the failure to provide further responses to interrogatories was willful, contumacious or in bad faith. Rather, the defendant's responses to the claimant's interrogatories reasonably reflect its substantive objections to the information sought. Consequently, no sanction is appropriate pursuant to CPLR 3126.

Review of defendant's answers to the claimant's interrogatories indicates that all but its response to interrogatory numbered "11" were proper. Defendant's response to interrogatory numbered "4" properly indicates that permits for the issuance of a television and hot pot are irrelevant to the causes of action asserted in this case; its responses to interrogatories numbered "7" and "8" were adequate, and the defendant properly objected to interrogatories numbered "9", "10" and "12" as irrelevant to the claim. To the extent the supplemental claim does allege the confiscation of various food items, a response to interrogatory numbered "11" should be provided if such information exists.

Based on the forgoing, the claimant's motion for sanctions pursuant to CPLR 3126 is denied and the defendant is ordered to provide a supplemental response to interrogatory numbered "11" within thirty days of the date this order is filed.



December 11, 2007
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 August 20, 2007;
  2. Affirmation of Shawn Green sworn to August 20, 2007;
  3. Memorandum of law of Shawn Green dated August 20, 2007 with exhibit;
  4. Affirmation of Michael T. Krenrich dated October 10, 2007 with exhibits;
  5. Affidavit of Shawn Green sworn to October 16, 2007.