New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CANTEY v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-030-541, Claim No. 114505, Motion No. M-75025


Synopsis


Motion to compel production of documents by pro-se inmate claimant denied. The State has control only over the one accident report already provided. Balance of motion seeks disclosure from non-parties.

Case Information

UID:
2008-030-541
Claimant(s):
THEODORE CANTEY
Claimant short name:
CANTEY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
114505
Motion number(s):
M-75025
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant’s attorney:
THEODORE CANTEY, PRO SE
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: JOHN M. HUNTER, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
July 8, 2008
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

The following papers were read and considered on claimant’s motion for an order


directing production of certain documents:

1,2 Notice of Motion; Affidavit in Support of Motion Pursuant to CPLR 2302(b) by Theodore Cantey, Claimant

  1. Affirmation by John M. Hunter, Assistant Attorney General and attached exhibit
4,5 Filed papers: Claim, Answer

Theodore Cantey alleges in his claim that on September 18, 2006 defendant’s agents caused him to trip, fall and suffer personal injuries because of their negligent failure to utilize proper techniques for escorting an individual who is rear hand-cuffed. Specifically, when a court officer escorted Mr. Cantey - who was rear hand-cuffed at the time - to a court appearance from the holding area, he tripped and fell on the first of three to four steps, receiving a contusion on the right side of his eye.

Although the motion papers are not very specific, in this motion claimant appears to be seeking copies of documents from Manhattan Detention Center, New York City Health and Hospitals, and Striver House. [Affidavit in Support of Motion by Theodore Cantey, Claimant]. The only document specified, however, is an “injury report,” which he claims had been previously sought from defendant. [See id. ¶¶ 3,4].

Claimant’s notice of motion contains additional statements suggesting that he seeks medical records from “Striver’s House/Medical Dept. 202 Edgecombe Avenue, New York, NY 10030”, but production of same is not addressed in the affidavit he submitted, nor is it clear when and if claimant was treated there for any injuries associated with this accident.

Moreover, if claimant is asking the court to issue subpoenas to any of these entities that are not parties to the action he must prepare a subpoena for the court that sets forth the information required by Civil Practice Law and Rules §3101(a)(4). That section provides in pertinent part: “. . . There shall be full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of any action, regardless of the burden of proof, by: . . . any other person [i.e.: a non-party], upon notice stating the circumstances or reasons such disclosure is sought or required.”

The court notes that disclosure in the form of a deposition from a nonparty is available only upon a showing of “special circumstances”, whereas document disclosure requires that a more minimal showing of “circumstances” be set forth. Whether special circumstances exist is not established by merely declaring that the information sought is material or relevant. They may be shown by establishing, for example, that evidence has been destroyed, or that some other “. . . unique factual situation exists . . . (citation omitted)” [see Brooklyn Floor Maintenance Co. v Providence Washington Ins. Co., 296 AD2d 520, 521 (2d Dept 2002)] and that the information sought cannot be obtained from other sources. Dioguardi v St. John's Riverside Hosp., 144 AD2d 333, 334-335 (2d Dept 1988). With regard to the “circumstances or reasons such disclosure is sought or required”, it would seem that claimant must show that the information is material and relevant, i.e.: the usual disclosure requirement. See generally Civil Practice Law and Rules §3101 (a).

If what claimant is looking for are medical records concerning his own treatment, he might make direct inquiries to these entities, inquire about the cost for copying such records, and obtain them directly. If court intervention is sought, he must establish at least materiality and relevance to obtain disclosure from non-parties, in addition to furnishing the cost information, since the third party need not supply records without claimant’s payment for same.

Defendant indicates the State of New York Unified Court System Aided Report dated September 19, 2006 generated after claimant’s accident was provided to claimant with earlier correspondence - a copy is attached as an exhibit herein - and that this motion is moot, therefore, as it relates to the State of New York. [See Affirmation by John M. Hunter, Assistant Attorney General, ¶¶3, 4; Exhibit A]. The court agrees.

Accordingly, since this appears to be the document claimant was seeking, and since it also appears to be the only document over which defendant has control, the claimant’s motion is therefore denied as moot.


July 8, 2008
White Plains, New York

HON. THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Judge of the Court of Claims