New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BAKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-037-038, Claim No. 112982, Motion No. M-73903


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2007-037-038
Claimant(s):
DAVID S. BAKER
Claimant short name:
BAKER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
112982
Motion number(s):
M-73903
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
JEREMIAH J. MORIARTY III
Claimant’s attorney:
David S. Baker, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Attorney General
By: Thomas G. Ramsay, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 16, 2007
City:
Buffalo
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The following have been read and considered with respect to Claimant’s motion to compel discovery:
1. Claimant’s notice of motion and affidavit of pro se Claimant David S. Baker sworn

to August 25, 2007;

2. Opposing affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Thomas G. Ramsay dated

August 29, 2007, with annexed Exhibits A-D;

3. Supplemental affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Thomas G. Ramsay dated

September 28, 2007, with annexed Exhibits A-B.


Filed documents: “Notice of Claim”[1] filed November 3, 2006; Answer filed December 1, 2006; “Plaintiff’s Omnibus Demands”[2] filed March 9, 2007; Defendant’s Response to Demands filed April 3, 2007; and Plaintiff’s Omnibus Discovery Demands filed August 1, 2007.

This is an action for personal injuries allegedly sustained by the Claimant, a pro se inmate, while he was being transported from Livingston Correctional Facility (Livingston) to Wyoming County Community Hospital (WCCH) on March 28, 2006 for surgery, while being transported from WCCH to Groveland Correctional Facility (Groveland) on April 4, 2006, and while being transported from Groveland to Livingston on April 5, 2006. Claimant brings this motion seeking an order compelling Defendant to respond to his omnibus discovery demands filed March 9, 2007 and August 1, 2007. Although Claimant neglected to provide a copy of his omnibus demands or Defendant’s responses, copies of Claimant’s demands were provided by Defendant as Defendant’s Exhibits A and C, respectively, Defendant’s response to the March, 2007 omnibus demands was provided as Defendant’s Exhibit B and a copy of a letter dated July 31, 2007 from Assistant Attorney General Ramsey in response to the August, 2007 omnibus demands was submitted as Defendant’s Exhibit D. The Court has reviewed Claimant’s two omnibus demands and notes that these demands are almost identical. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, the Court will only address claimant’s original demands (Exhibit A) and Defendant’s response (Exhibit B).

In response to Claimant’s demand numbered 1, Defendant annexed to its response a copy of a statement submitted by Claimant. In response to Claimant’s demands numbered 4 and 5, Defendant advised that it was self-insured and that it had not as yet retained an expert. Defendant’s responses to these demands are appropriate and Claimant’s motion to compel further responses to them is denied.

By demand numbered 2 (A), Claimant requested the names of every person “having knowledge of any admission by any party herein.” This demand is ambiguous and vague and Defendant appropriately declined to respond. By demand numbered 2 (B), Claimant requested the names of every “witness to any element reflecting on liability.” In response Defendant provided the names of several correction officers and nurses. No further response to demand numbered 2 (A) or (B) is required and Claimant’s motion with respect to this demand is denied.

By demand numbered 3, Claimant requested copies of entries in the log books relating to the transport of inmates to and from medical facilities which are “relevant to this claim, and the coinciding dates therein.” In response, Defendant agreed to provide redacted copies of the Watch Commander log book entries relating to the dates of Claimant’s transports as alleged in the claim upon receipt from Claimant of $1.75, representing $.25 per page. Otherwise, Defendant objected to the demand insofar as it called for information on inmates other than Claimant or called for information from dates other than the dates alleged in the claim. Defendant properly limited the scope of Claimant’s demand as information regarding other inmates and dates not referenced in the claim is not relevant. Moreover, Defendant is entitled to prepayment of reasonable copying charges for providing documents (Gittens v State of New York, 175 AD2d 530 [1991]). The Court finds Defendant’s response to demand numbered 3 to be sufficient and declines to order the Defendant to respond further. If Claimant wishes a copy of the redacted log book entries referenced in Defendant’s response he should prepay the reasonable charges requested by Defendant.

By demand numbered 6, Claimant requested copies of New York State directives relating to the transport of disabled prisoners. In response Defendant identified four directives: directive 4901, “Transporting Prisoners;” directive 4904, “Rules and Regulations for the Operation of Outside Hospital Detail;” directive 4906, “Transfer of Inmates;” and directive 4918, “Inmate Health Care During Transfer” which are designated restricted as to distribution and declined to produce them as they contain information relating to security.[3] Because these four directives could contain information relevant to this claim, Defendant is directed to produce to the Court for an in camera inspection two copies of these four directives. One copy should be unredacted and the second copy should be redacted in the manner that the Defendant believes would present information relevant to this claim, while removing irrelevant information and protecting any security interests or confidential information. These copies are to be provided to the Court within sixty (60) days of the filing of this decision and order. After reviewing these directives, the Court will issue a further decision indicating what, if any, portion of these directives should be provided to Claimant.

Finally, Claimant seeks an order compelling Defendant to provide copies of his medical records. The Court has reviewed Claimant’s March, 2007 and August, 2007 omnibus demands, the only discovery demands presently at issue, and notes that Claimant does not include in either demand a request for medical records. A motion to compel discovery pursuant to CPLR 3124 is appropriate only after a party has served a proper discovery demand and the other party has failed to respond or comply with the demand (Williams v State of New York, Ct Cl, September 6, 2002, Lebous, J., Claim No. 106218, Motion Nos. M-65548, M-65549, UID # 2002-019-565).[4] Moreover, since this motion was filed, Claimant wrote to Defendant’s counsel and requested copies of his medical records (see Defendant’s Exhibit A annexed to Assistant Attorney General Ramsay’s supplemental affirmation) and Copies were provided (see Defendant’s Exhibit B annexed to Assistant Attorney General Ramsay’s supplemental affirmation). Accordingly, Claimant’s motion, insofar as it can be construed as requesting an order compelling Defendant to produce copies of his medical records, is denied.

Based on the foregoing, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Claimant’s motion M-73903 is denied, except that Defendant is to provide the Court within sixty (60) days of the filing of this decision and order, two copies of directives 4901, 4904, 4906, and 4918, one unredacted and one redacted in accordance with this decision and order, for an in camera inspection by the Court.



October 16, 2007
Buffalo, New York

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




[1]. An action is commenced in the Court of Claims by filing and serving a claim, not a notice of claim.
[2]. A person who commences an action in the Court of Claims is a claimant, not a plaintiff.
[3]. The addition to demand numbered 6 in Claimant’s August, 2007 omnibus demand of the four directives identified by Defendant in its response to Claimant’s initial omnibus demand is the only difference between Claimant’s March, 2007 and August, 2007 demands.

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