New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WILLIAMSON v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-039-088, Claim No. 105989, Motion No. M-74929


Synopsis


Claimant’s motion for an order imposing sanctions for defendant’s alleged dilatory conduct in failing to provide discovery is denied. The Court finds that insufficient proof was offered to establish that defendant’s delay in responding to claimant’s discovery demand was “willful, contumacious or in bad faith.”

Case Information

UID:
2008-039-088
Claimant(s):
SHIKILE WILLIAMSON
Claimant short name:
WILLIAMSON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
105989
Motion number(s):
M-74929
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
James H. Ferreira
Claimant’s attorney:
Shikile Williamson, pro se
Defendant’s attorney:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Michele M. WallsAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
August 13, 2008
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant moves the Court for an order imposing sanctions for defendant’s alleged dilatory conduct in failing to provide discovery pursuant to claimant’s request dated March 13, 2008. Defendant opposes the motion and attaches as an exhibit thereto its response to claimant’s discovery demand. The exhibit provided consists of a cover letter wherein counsel for defendant states, among other things, that various documents have been enclosed in response to claimant’s discovery request.

It is well settled that “[t]he nature and degree of the penalty to be imposed pursuant to CPLR 3126 against a party who ‘refuses to obey an order for disclosure or wilfully fails to disclose information which the court finds ought to have been disclosed’ is a matter within the discretion of the court” (DeJulio v Wulf, 260 AD2d 425, 425 [1999], quoting CPLR 3216). “While the nature and the degree of the sanction is a matter that rests within the court’s discretion, sanctions are inappropriate absent a clear showing that the failure to comply with discovery was willful, contumacious or in bad faith” (Koehl v State of New York, Ct Cl, Collins, J., May 26, 2008, UID #2008-015-041).

The Court finds that insufficient proof has been offered to establish that defendant’s delay in responding to claimant’s discovery demand was “willful, contumacious or in bad faith” (id.). Defendant’s delay in responding was brief, and the amount of documentation provided was significant. The demand was made on March 13, 2008 and a response was provided on May 27, 2008. According to defendant, the response consisted of “approximately 65 pages of documents and exhibits.” Claimant notes in his reply papers that the Court issued a letter order directing that discovery be completed on or before March 31, 2008. However, by a subsequent letter order dated February 5, 2008, the Court adjourned the trial of this matter without date.

Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that M-74929 is denied.


August 13, 2008
Albany, New York

HON. JAMES H. FERREIRA
Judge of the Court of Claims


Papers Considered
:
  1. Notice of Motion dated May 5, 2008;
  2. Affidavit in Support of Motion for Sanctions by Shikile Williamson;
  3. Affidavit in Opposition to Claimant’s Motion for Sanctions or to Compel by Michele M. Walls, AAG sworn to on May 29, 2008 with exhibits; and
  4. Affidavit in Response to Defendant’s Motion to Have Claimant’s Motion for Sanctions Denied by Shikile Williamson sworn to on June 2, 2008 with exhibit.