New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KOEHL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-015-075, Claim No. 113877, Motion No. M-75098


Synopsis


Claimant's motion to compel discovery and for the imposition of costs was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2008-015-075
Claimant(s):
EDWARD KOEHL
Claimant short name:
KOEHL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
113877
Motion number(s):
M-75098
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Edward Koehl, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Paul Cagino, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
September 26, 2008
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, a pro se inmate, moves to compel disclosure and for the imposition of costs. On April 15, 2008 claimant served Interrogatories upon the defendant. On May 19, 2008 claimant sent a letter requesting a response. Claimant states in his affidavit in support of the motion to compel that the defendant had failed to provide a response to the interrogatories as of the date of the motion in June 2008.

In response to the motion the defendant avers that it has now responded to the claimant's Interrogatories and argues that the motion is therefore moot. Claimant does not dispute that the defendant has complied with his Interrogatories but nonetheless pursues his request for costs in light of the defendant's history of dilatory conduct. Indeed, it does appear that claimant has been put to the task of a motion in order to elicit from the defendant responses to discovery that should have been provided without the need for Court intervention. Notably in this regard, by Order filed February 1, 2008 this Court granted in part and denied in part the claimant's motion to compel certain discovery. As the result of the defendant's failure to respond to this Order, the claimant then moved for the imposition of sanctions. Only in opposition to that motion did the defendant provide a response to the outstanding discovery, explaining that the delay was "[d]ue to the number of items the claimant has requested, the number of correctional facilities that had to be contacted, and the number of searches that had to be made . . ." The Court found the excuse for the relatively brief delay reasonable and denied the motion.

Although the defendant has now responded to the claimant's Interrogatories, its excuse for the two-month delay is reminiscent of its prior excuse and devoid of factual detail. Claimant should not be put to the task of making a motion in order to obtain routine discovery. The Court cannot conclude at this juncture, however, that the defendant's failure to timely comply with discovery was willful, contumacious or in bad faith so as to warrant the imposition of sanctions (Gillen v Utica First Ins. Co., 41 AD3d 647 [2007]). The defendant would be well advised to respond or object to discovery within the time parameters set forth in the CPLR. Inasmuch as an award of costs is not permissible in the Court of Claims (Court of Claims Act § 27) and the defendant has now complied with discovery, claimant's motion is denied.



September 26, 2008
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 June 10, 2008;
  2. Affidavit of Edward Koehl sworn to June 10, 2008 with exhibit;
  3. Affirmation of Paul F. Cagino dated July 3, 2008;
  4. Reply to State's Opposition of Edward Koehl dated July 8, 2008.