New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

JOHNSON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2008-040-005, Claim No. 113923, Motion No. M-74053


Synopsis


Prisoner pro se motion to compel production of original documents denied.

Case Information

UID:
2008-040-005
Claimant(s):
JOHNATHAN JOHNSON 89A1042
Claimant short name:
JOHNSON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
113923
Motion number(s):
M-74053
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant’s attorney:
Johnathan Johnson, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New YorkBy: Paul F. Cagino, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
February 1, 2008
City:
Albany
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

For the reasons set forth below, Claimant’s motion to compel the State to produce original records is denied.

Claimant alleges that during May and June, 2007, he was housed in a Special Housing Unit (hereinafter SHU) at Upstate Correctional Facility (hereinafter Upstate) located in Malone, New York. He states that he was placed on a restricted diet, apparently as a disciplinary measure, pursuant to Department of Correctional Services Directive 4933. He asserts that he advised several members of the medical staff at Upstate on various dates that the restricted diet caused him to suffer stomach pains and diarrhea and that they refused to discontinue the restricted diet.

On September 10, 2007, Claimant mailed a Disclosure Request for Production of Documents to Defendant. The disclosure demand seeks: (1) copies of Upstate’s restricted diet medical logs for Claimant from May through August 2007; (2) copies of the SHU log book for visitors to the 11 Building Housing Unit for May 14, 2007 from 7:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m.; (3) copies of three specified inmate grievances filed by Claimant; (4) copies of two specified inmate misbehavior reports issued to Claimant; (5) a copy of the Superintendent’s Hearing disposition regarding a June 1, 2007 hearing; and (6) a copy of the May 31, 2007 restricted diet approval by Physician’s Assistant Johnston regarding Claimant.

On September 26, 2007, Defendant served a Response to Claimant’s Request for Production of Documents. Defendant objected to Demands (1) and (2) thereof as vague, ambiguous and “difficult to determine what specifically claimant is seeking. Non classified documents can be inspected by making a written request to the inmate records coordinator” (Response to Claimant’s Request for Production of Documents, ¶ 1). With respect to Claimant’s Demands (3), (4), (5) and (6), it was Defendant’s position that the grievances were already in Claimant’s possession and that they could be inspected “by making a written request to the inmate records coordinator at the facility where you are housed” (Response to Claimant’s Request for Production of Documents, ¶ 3).

In his affirmation submitted in support of his motion, Claimant asserts that, in order to sustain his cause of action, he needs to have original records produced in Court (Johnson Affirmation, ¶ 4).

Defense counsel repeats in his Affirmation in Opposition to Claimant’s motion, dated November 16, 2007, that Claimant is not entitled to any original documents and that he was advised in the State’s discovery response that he could inspect non-classified documents as well as his grievances at any time upon written request to the inmate records coordinator at his facility (see Affirmation in Opposition, ¶¶ 3, 4).

The Court notes that Claimant does not object to the State’s responses that he contact the inmate records coordinator at his facility to review non-classified documents and his grievances. Rather, with respect to each document, he asserts that he needs, and thus seeks, originals, not copies of such documents.

CPLR 4518(c), which relates to hospital, library and government records, provides that if an employee charged with maintaining the record provides a certification as to the authenticity of the record, and the record was made in the regular course of business and it was the regular course of the business to make a record of this type, and the record was made at or about the time of the occurrence of the event recorded, an original document need not be submitted at trial (Alexander, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons. Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C 4518:10). Thus, Claimant’s motion to compel the production of original documents is denied.


February 1, 2008
Albany, New York

HON. CHRISTOPHER J. MCCARTHY
Judge of the Court of Claims


The following papers were read and considered by the Court on Claimant’s motion to compel:


Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion and Affirmation 1

Affirmation in Opposition and Exhibits Attached 2


Filed Papers: Claim, Answer