New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BINKLEY v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-030-561, Claim No. 115465, Motion No. M-75510


Synopsis


Pro se inmate claimant motion to compel discovery denied as vague and overbroad. Claim alleges Sing Sing personnel in the package room and later the grievance and/or media review committees, wrongfully withheld from his possession Japanese language flash cards purchased for educational and religious purposes.

Case Information

UID:
2008-030-561
Claimant(s):
DAVID BINKLEY
Claimant short name:
BINKLEY
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115465
Motion number(s):
M-75510
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
THOMAS H. SCUCCIMARRA
Claimant’s attorney:
DAVID BINKLEY, PRO SE
Defendant’s attorney:
HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: ELYSE J. ANGELICO, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
October 7, 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 to compel


disclosure:

  1. Disclosure Motion [M-75510] by David Binkley, Claimant and attached affidavit of service
  1. Affirmation in Opposition by Elyse J. Angelico, Assistant Attorney General and attached exhibits
3-7 Filed papers: Claim, Answer, Claim Supplement (filed July 24, 2008), Answer to Claim Supplement, Claim Supplement (filed August 18, 2008)

David Binkley alleges in his claim that defendant’s agents at Sing Sing Correctional Facility [Sing Sing] - specifically the package room and later the grievance and/or media review committees - wrongfully withheld from his possession Japanese language flash cards purchased for educational and religious purposes. The package room advised claimant that the cards would not be provided to him on February 1, 2008, and claimant pursued grievance claims thereafter. Such denial, he asserts, interfered with his right to free exercise of his religion. He seeks “incidental relief in the form of order to issue religious/educational ‘books,’ defined by International Standard Book Numbers as such for all intents and purposes under Federal and State law, restoring claimant’s liberty, property and due process rights . . . [and] compensatory and/or punitive damages: $100,000.00. [Claim No. 115465, ¶¶3 and 7]. He states that on April 30, 2008 the Central Office Review Committee [CORC] issued its decision denying the grievance he filed with regard to the materials. [Claim No. 115465, ¶3]. In copies of letters claimant wrote in pursuit of his grievance, that are attached to the claim filed in the Court of Claims, claimant indicates that the materials were returned to his mother. [Letter to Central Office Media Review Committee from David Binkley dated March 10, 2008].

The present motion, entitled “Disclosure Motion” by claimant[1], is essentially his demand for disclosure served on defendant and filed with the clerk of the court as required by 22 NYCRR §206.5(c). As a motion to compel such disclosure it is premature [see Civil Practice Law and Rules §3124], and denied summarily on that ground alone.

Civil Practice Law and Rules §3101, setting forth the scope of disclosure in a civil case and applicable in the Court of Claims [see Court of Claims Act §9(9)], provides in pertinent part that “[t]here shall be full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of any action, regardless of the burden of proof . . .”

As noted in the Court’s decision with regard to M-75442, claimant’s issues would appear to be more properly addressed in the context of an Article 78 proceeding commenced in Supreme Court. There is no dispositive cross-motion before the court, however, thus no action can be taken.

With regard to the discovery requests that are the subject of this motion, defendant has responded by forwarding documents to claimant with regard to some of the requests, and objecting to others, while reserving the right to supplement its response in the event additional information becomes available. The following documents were provided: cover memorandum from Jeffrey DeLoatch to Taudia Todmann dated July 1, 2008; attached inmate grievance history at Sing Sing; photocopy of grievance #44145-08; copy of letter from David Binkley to Director of Education [Affirmation in Opposition by Elyse Angelico, Assistant Attorney General, Exhibit B]; and claimant’s medical records [ibid. Exhibit C].

The defendant notes that the grievance file pages that were bate stamped 51-56, containing the “outgoing certified mail log for claimant’s mail and legal mail log for incoming legal mail” are excluded for in camera review. [See Affirmation in Opposition by Elyse Angelico ¶ 5, Exhibit B]. The documents referenced have been supplied and reviewed, and defendant is directed to furnish legible copies of same to claimant, with information concerning other inmates redacted. Notably, the area of the pages where the date the mail was received and processed is stamped is illegible, due to a white streak in the photocopy.

Claimant’s request for “documents, records, correspondence and other materials grounds [sic] for belief in defendant’s answers to claim and claim supplement which do not duplicate or demonstrate variance with claimants [sic] exhibits” [See Disclosure Motion, ¶2] is denied as vague and overbroad. All document requests in the present motion have either been responded to or appropriately objected to.

Based on the foregoing, claimant’s motion [M-75510] to compel discovery is denied.


October 7, 2008
White Plains, New York

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




[1]. This is one of four (4) motions calendared by the Clerk since issue was joined on August 7, 2008. Three were marked submitted on September 17, 2008 [M-75442; M-75510; M-75457]. A fourth has been calendared for October 15, 2008 [M-75533].