The following papers were reviewed by the Court on these motions:
Defendant’s Notice of Motion to Strike Interrogatories, Defendant’s
Affirmation in Support of Motion to Strike Interrogatories with annexed
letter dated September 22, 2006, Claimant’s Affidavit in Opposition dated
October 20, 2006 with annexed Exhibits, Claimant’s Notice of Motion
(seeking sanctions) filed September 20, 2006, Claimant’s Affidavit with
annexed Exhibit, Defendant’s Notice of Cross-Motion for Sanctions,
Defendant’s Affirmation in Opposition to Claimant’s Motion for
Sanctions and in Support of Defendant’s Cross-Motion for Sanctions,
Claimant’s Affidavit in Opposition to Defendant’s Cross-Motion for
Sanctions, the filed Claim and claimant’s interrogatories filed November
Defendant, the State of New York, has brought motion, M-72302, seeking an order
striking a portion of thirty interrogatories contained in a request previously
served by claimant upon defendant on November 10,
In response, claimant, Donnell Jefferson, filed a motion, M-72303, pursuant to
CPLR §3126 seeking an order imposing penalties against defendant for
failing to provide responses to the interrogatories. Defendant then submitted a
cross-motion, CM-72486, pursuant to CPLR §3126 for an order imposing
penalties and sanctions against claimant for his abuse of the discovery process.
The underlying facts of the subject claim occurred primarily during
claimant’s incarceration at the Altona Correctional Facility from March
12, 2001 through January 30, 2002. During that time period another inmate,
Louis Early, gained access to claimant’s personal information. At some
point thereafter, Mr. Early submitted fraudulent documents in claimant’s
name to the federal government in an attempt to obtain an illegitimate tax
refund. Claimant contends, inter alia, that defendant negligently
permitted Mr. Early to work at the Altona Correctional Facility despite a
criminal history of convictions for robbery and fraud.
At the outset, the Court notes that claimant has withdrawn interrogatories
numbered seven, fourteen, fifteen, twenty-four and twenty-five from his request
for interrogatories filed November 15, 2005. Claimant also withdrew a portion of
interrogatory ten from the request.
In regard to the remaining interrogatories the Court finds numbers one, two,
four, eleven, thirteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-three, and twenty-eight to be
palpably improper and that defendant has adequately responded to interrogatories
six, eight, nine, twelve, seventeen, eighteen and thirty.
The Court finds interrogatory three to be irrelevant to the claims asserted by
claimant, however, defendant did provide a list of inmates to claimant. The
Court also finds interrogatories five and sixteen to be overly broad.
Notwithstanding, defendant did provide claimant with certain information
regarding the lack of any investigations into the subject incident by the Office
of the Inspector General. Defendant also provided claimant with information
regarding an investigation into tax fraud by the U.S. Department of
Claimant has withdrawn that portion of interrogatory ten which requests
departmental directive 0701. Defendant has produced the remaining relevant
departmental directives requested in interrogatory ten.
The Court finds defendant’s response to interrogatory twenty-two to be
incomplete. Ms. Darlene Lashway, Inmate Records Coordinator at the Altona
Correctional Facility, merely states that “the same procedure
applies,” however she does not explain what constitutes the procedure.
Thus, the Court directs defendant to expand its response to interrogatory
twenty-two by outlining the procedure Ms. Lashway is referencing.
In response to interrogatory twenty-six defendant has identified Robert Georgia
as Mr. Early’s parole officer. In accordance with Judge Hard’s May
3, 2005 Letter Decision and Order, defendant also provided claimant with the
Department of Correctional Services crime and sentencing information regarding
Mr. Early. Thus, the Court finds defendant has adequately responded to
Interrogatories twenty-one and twenty-seven relate to an investigation which
occurred on January 30, 2003. Claimant identifies T. Todd as the representative
of the Inspector General’s Office who conducted the investigation.
Defendant’s response, inter alia, is that there are no documents
which relate to such an interview. Additionally, in accordance with Judge
Hard’s May 3, 2005 Letter Decision and Order, defendant provided claimant
with two letters from the Inspector General’s Office dated May 18, 2005
and May 20, 2005. The letters stated that the Office of the Inspector General
did not have an investigative case regarding claimant in connection with an
identity fraud or tax scam with Mr. Early. The letters explain that the U.S.
Department of Treasury conducted an investigation and that the Treasury
Department investigator was Special Agent Christopher King out of White Plains,
New York. Thus, the Court finds defendant has adequately responded to
interrogatories twenty-one and twenty-seven.
Claimant apparently initiated a felony complaint against Mr. Early and as a
result was interviewed by New York State Police Investigator Mark D. Nell.
Defendant responded to claimant’s interrogatory twenty-nine by providing
the date claimant was interviewed by Investigator Nell. As the complainant,
claimant clearly knows the nature of the investigation. The Court finds that
claimant is not entitled to the names of those individuals interviewed by
Investigator Nell but is entitled to know the status of the investigation.
Thus, defendant is directed to provide claimant with the current status of the
Defendant is ordered to comply with the Court’s directives contained
herein within sixty days of the date this Decision and Order is filed. The Court
also finds claimant’s motion, M-72303 and defendant’s cross-motion,
CM-72486 to be without merit (see 22 NYCRR 130-1.1).
Accordingly, motion M-72302 is granted in part and denied to the extent stated
herein. Additionally, motion M-72303 and cross-motion CM-72486 are