New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PETTUS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-015-132, Claim No. 115454, Motion No. M-75770


Synopsis


Pro se inmate's motion for subpoena was denied.

Case Information

UID:
2009-015-132
Claimant(s):
JAMES PETTUS
Claimant short name:
PETTUS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
115454
Motion number(s):
M-75770
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
James Pettus, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
February 2, 2009
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, moves for the issuance of a judicial subpoena duces tecum to obtain the transcript from a Time Allowance Committee hearing, any minutes or notes taken in connection therewith and all documents signed by the claimant at the hearing. To the extent discernable from the claim, claimant seeks damages for an alleged practice of discriminatory conduct which resulted in his wrongful confinement to the special housing unit at Great Meadow Correctional Facility on April 4, 2008. Claimant now seeks to subpoena certain documents from the defendant relative to a Time Allowance Committee hearing.

In general, “ 'a subpoena duces tecum may not be used for the purpose of discovery or to ascertain the existence of evidence' ” (Matter of Murray v Hudson, 43 AD3d 936, 937 [2007], quoting People v Gissendanner, 48 NY2d 543, 551 [1979]). CPLR 3120 (1) permits the service of a notice for discovery on a "party" and a subpoena duces tecum on "any other person". A subpoena duces tecum is an inappropriate procedural vehicle for obtaining discovery from the defendant in this case.

Moreover, "[i]t is well settled that the purpose of a subpoena duces tecum is to compel the production of specific documents that are relevant and material to facts at issue in a pending judicial proceeding" (Velez v Hunts Point Multi-Serv. Ctr., Inc., 29 AD3d 104, 112 [2006]). Here, it does not appear that the documents which are the subject of the proposed subpoena are material and relevant to this claim.

Based on the foregoing, claimant's motion is denied.


February 2, 2009
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 October 6, 2008;
  2. "Affirmation/Affidavit" of James Pettus sworn to October 8, 2008 with attachment;
  3. Affirmation of Saul Aronson dated November 26, 2008 with exhibit.