New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

AMAKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2007-040-027, Claim No. 107678, Motion No. M-73210


Synopsis


Prisoner pro se : Motion to compel discovery granted in part and denied in part.

Case Information

UID:
2007-040-027
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY D. AMAKER
Claimant short name:
AMAKER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107678
Motion number(s):
M-73210
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant’s attorney:
Anthony D. Amaker, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMOAttorney General of the State of New York
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
May 31, 2007
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

For the reasons set forth below, the motion pursuant to CPLR 3124 to compel the State to produce certain documents made by pro se Claimant, Anthony D. Amaker, is granted in part and denied in part.

Claimant alleges in his Claim that certain personal items were removed from his cell by State employees at Upstate Correctional Facility (Upstate). He further asserts that, on November 16, 2002, he was transferred to another facility so he could attend a Federal court appearance; that a correction officer took control of Claimant’s property but did not complete an I-64 form; that Claimant received his property on February 4, 2003 and realized then that items of his property were missing.

Claimant asserts, in his affidavit submitted in support of his motion, that he served a Notice for Discovery and Inspection upon Defendant on January 12, 2007. He further avers that, on or about March 6, 2007, Defendant’s counsel served a response to the Demand and objected to Demands 2, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Claimant seeks an order compelling Defendant to respond to these six demands.

The State has not opposed Claimant’s motion. Attached to Claimant’s motion is an Affidavit of Service wherein Mr. Amaker avers he served the motion papers upon Defendant’s counsel on April 4, 2007. The Court has some doubt as to the veracity of the statement as the notary public who witnessed Claimant’s signature stated that the document was sworn to before her on April 2, 2007 – two days before the papers were allegedly mailed. In any event, the Court will consider the motion but will not consider the State to be in default for failing to respond to the motion since there is some doubt in the Court’s mind as to whether the motion was served upon the Defendant.

Claimant’s Demand 2 seeks package room receipts from Clinton Correctional Facility (Clinton) from June 12, 1998 to present. Defendant objects on the basis that the request is overly broad, unduly burdensome, vague and ambiguous. Defense counsel further asserts that such documents are not relevant to this Claim. While the Claim alleges that property was lost or stolen while Claimant was housed at Upstate, it also appears to assert that property Claimant had at Clinton was lost during his time at Upstate and was not transferred from Upstate to Great Meadow Correctional Facility. The Court finds this request, as written, to be overbroad. Claimant should limit his request to the time period he was housed at Clinton. The motion to compel a response to Demand 2 is denied.

Claimant’s Demand 8 seeks all directives and regulations dealing with disposal of inmates’ personal property. The State objects to the Demand as overly broad and insufficiently specific so as to be burdensome and to be potentially inclusive of privileged, confidential and security-sensitive information. Counsel also states that directives and regulations are available to inmates in the law libraries of correctional facilities.

Claimant has failed to establish the relevance of this request to his Claim. The Claim appears to assert the State negligently cared for Claimant’s property, resulting in items being lost. This request relates to disposal of property. The motion to compel a response to Demand 8 is denied.

Demand 9 seeks all rules, regulations, and directives regarding “limitation of personal property while in special housing unit and general population” (Notice for Discovery and Inspection of Documents dated January 12, 2007). Defendant’s objection to Demand 9 is exactly the same as to Demand 8. The Court finds this request, as written, to be overbroad. Claimant should limit the request to a reasonable period of time around the date his Claim accrued. The motion to compel a response to Demand 9 is denied.

Demand 10 seeks the names of all officers in charge of handling property in Upstate and Great Meadow Correctional Facility. Defendant objects to the Demand as overly broad and insufficiently specific so as to be burdensome and potentially inclusive of privileged, confidential or security-sensitive information, including information not relevant to the Claim. The Court finds this request, as written, to be overbroad. Claimant should limit the request to a reasonable period of time around the date his Claim accrued. The motion to compel a response to Demand 10 is denied.

Demand 11 seeks a copy of Directive 4917. The State’s response is that Directive 4917 is available for inmate use in the facility law library. Defendant has offered no objection to this Demand. Defendant is directed to produce a copy of the directive within forty-five (45) days of the date of filing of this Decision and Order.

Demand 12 seeks any and all log book entries made upon the issuance of “personal property between October 31, 2001 to February 10, 2003 between Upstate C.F., Sing Sing C.F. and Great Meadow C.F.” (Notice for Discovery and Inspection dated January 12, 2007). Defendant objects to this demand as overly broad, unduly burdensome, vague and ambiguous. Defense counsel asserts that the documents sought are neither relevant to the subject matter of the litigation nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

As stated above, the Claim appears to allege that items of Claimant’s property were lost or stolen at Upstate. Claimant appears to have arrived at Upstate on October 31, 2001. The Court agrees with defense counsel that the Demand is overbroad as written. Claimant should be more specific as to what log book entries he is seeking as well as limit his requests to the specific time period he was housed in each facility. The motion to compel a response to Demand 12 is denied.


May 31, 2007
Albany, New York

HON. CHRISTOPHER J. MCCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read and considered on Claimant’s motion to compel:

Papers Numbered


Notice of Motion to Compel Discovery,
Affidavit in Support, Exhibit Attached 1

Filed Papers: Claim, Answer, Response to

Notice for Discovery and

Inspection of Documents