New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

HALL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-037-032, Claim No. 112347, Motion Nos. M-73651, CM-73748


Synopsis


In the absence of special circumstances, Claimant’s motion for supervision of discovery is denied. Defendant’s cross-motion to compel discovery is granted, but Defendant’s request for a self-executing order dismissing the claim in the event Claimant fails to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands in the time allotted by the Court is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2007-037-032
Claimant(s):
WILLIAM HALL, 05-R-3600
Claimant short name:
HALL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112347
Motion number(s):
M-73651
Cross-motion number(s):
CM-73748
Judge:
JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III
Claimant’s attorney:
William Hall, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Attorney General
By: Paul Volcy, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
August 27, 2007
City:
Buffalo
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following were read and considered with respect to Claimant’s motion for supervision of discovery and Defendant’s cross-motion to compel discovery:
1. Notice of motion and supporting affidavit of pro se Claimant William Hall sworn to

June 14, 2007, with attachment;

2. Notice of cross-motion and affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Paul Volcy in

opposition to Claimant’s motion and in support of the cross-motion dated July 17, 2007, with annexed Exhibits A-D;


Filed papers: Claim filed May 16, 2006; Answer filed July 5, 2006.


This is an action for damages arising out of an incident which occurred at Lakeview Correctional Facility in April of 2006 when the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) allegedly left pro se inmate William Hall in his cell for an extended period of time while the toilet in his cell emitted foul smelling water and feces, and forced him to eat his meals in his cell under these circumstances. Claimant moves for supervision of discovery (M-73651), and Defendant cross-moves to compel discovery and for an order striking the claim and dismissing the action in the event Claimant fails to respond timely to Defendant’s discovery demands (CM-73748). These discovery motions will be addressed separately.

Claimant’s motion for supervision of discovery (M-73651).

Claimant moves pursuant to CPLR § 3104 for supervision of discovery on the grounds that he is proceeding pro se and on his unsupported belief that the Defendant will not freely produce records without a Court order. “The supervisory power conferred by CPLR 3104 should be exercised sparingly and its exercise is not warranted in the absence of special circumstances (citations omitted) (DiGiovanni v Pepsico, Inc., 120 AD2d 413, 414 [1986]). This claim does not involve complex issues and, contrary to Claimant’s belief, there is no proof of any special circumstance which would warrant the appointment of a referee to supervise disclosure (Johnson v State of New York, Ct Cl, April 7, 2003, Lebous, J., claim nos. 106601, 106878, motion nos. M-66431, CM-66520, UID # 2003-019-536).[1] Accordingly, Claimant’s motion for supervision of discovery (M-73651) is denied.

Attached to Claimant’s motion papers is a copy of omnibus disclosure demands dated June 14, 2007 and addressed by Claimant to Defendant. These demands request responses within thirty (30) days. At the time Claimant’s motion papers were filed, answers to Claimant’s demands were not yet due and there is nothing in the notice of motion or supporting affidavit which asks the Court to compel Defendant to respond to these demands. Moreover, the Assistant Attorney General avers in his July 17, 2007 affirmation that responses to Claimant’s omnibus discovery demands were being simultaneously filed and served. Thus, insofar as Claimant’s motion papers can be construed as requesting an order compelling Defendant to respond to Claimant’s discovery demands it is denied.

Defendant’s motion to compel discovery (CM-73748).

On June 30, 2006, Defendant served its answer, together with a demand for a bill of particulars, notice for discovery and inspection, demand for collateral sources, demand pursuant to CPLR 3101 (d) and a notice for examination before trial (collectively referred to as Defendant’s discovery demands). Claimant failed to provide responses to Defendant’s discovery demands. In January of 2007, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment which stayed discovery pending determination of the motion (see CPLR 3214 [b]). Approximately three months have elapsed since the Court’s decision and order on Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was filed and served and the discovery stay effectively lifted, and Claimant has continued to fail to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands. Accordingly, the Court will order Claimant to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands within sixty (60) days of receipt of a copy of this decision and order, together with a duplicate copy of Defendant’s discovery demands.

Defendant further requests that the claim be dismissed without further involvement of the Court (self-executing) in the event Claimant fails to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands in the time allotted by the Court. This request is denied, without prejudice. Thus, if Claimant fails to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands within sixty (60) days of receipt of a copy of this decision and order, together with a duplicate copy of Defendant’s discovery demands, Defendant will be permitted to file a subsequent motion requesting whatever relief it deems appropriate.

Based on the foregoing, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Claimant’s motion for supervision of discovery (M-73651) is denied; and it is further

ORDERED, that Defendant’s cross-motion to compel responses to Defendant’s discovery demands (CM-73748) is granted to the extent that Claimant is directed to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands within sixty (60) days of receipt of a copy of this decision and order, together with a duplicate copy of Defendant’s discovery demands; and it is further

ORDERED, that Defendant’s cross-motion for a self-executing order dismissing the claim in the event Claimant fails to respond to Defendant’s discovery demands within the time allotted by the Court (CM-73748) is denied, without prejudice.



August 27, 2007
Buffalo, New York

HON. JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]. This and other unreported Court of Claims decisions may be found on the Court’s web site at www.nyscourtofclaims.courts.state.ny.us.