New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

KOEHL v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-015-164, Claim No. 114945, Motion No. M-76162


Synopsis


Pro se inmate's motion to compel compliance with discovery was denied. Materials sought were objectionable or privileged.

Case Information

UID:
2009-015-164
Claimant(s):
EDWARD KOEHL
Claimant short name:
KOEHL
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
114945
Motion number(s):
M-76162
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Edward Koehl, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Michael C. Rizzo, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
May 4, 2009
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate proceeding pro se, moves to compel compliance with a demand for discovery. The claim alleges that on February 21, 2007 a misbehavior report was issued against the claimant, while he was an inmate at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, by an individual employed by the Department of Correctional Services Office of the Inspector General. The misbehavior report alleged the claimant had authored and filed a grievance with the Committee on Professional Standards which the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) "deemed harassment". The claimant was found guilty of harassment following a Tier III hearing and sentenced to 90 days in the SHU, together with loss of privileges and good time credits. Although claimant alleges the manner in which the hearing was conducted violated his right to due process, the determination of guilt was affirmed upon an administrative appeal and confirmed in a proceeding pursuant to article 78 (see Matter of Koehl v Fischer, 52 AD3d 1070 [2008]).[1] Claimant began serving his 90 day sentence at the Great Meadow SHU on March 7, 2007.

The claim further alleges that a second misbehavior report charging the claimant with harassment in connection with the filing of a grievance was issued on March 6, 2007. According to the claim:
"[t]he author, R. Hilliar, Grievance Supervisor, GMCF, alleged that claimant harassed her when she illegally intercepted and confiscated Claimant's grievance appeals . . . that claimed Ms. Hilliar violated DOCS Directive and State and Federal law by refusing to file Claimant's grievances and-or forward his grievance appeals to the next level."

Claimant was found guilty on March 8, 2007 and was sentenced to 30 days keeplock, with loss of privileges, to be served at the completion of his prior disciplinary sentence[2]. This time, however, the finding of guilt was apparently reversed administratively as the claimant alleges that the entries by the Warden of Clinton Correctional Facility related to the above disciplinary violation were expunged from his record on July 13, 2007.

Claimant made several informal requests for discovery incorporated in a "Discovery Demand" dated December 2, 2008 (see claimant's first undenominated Exhibit) which sought disclosure of the following documents:
2. "[M]edical and dental reports from 6.1.00 thru present, and medicl [sic] and dental xrays."

3. "[A]ll documents and recording, including any internal and external investigative reports, complaints, etc., regarding infractions issued to me on : 2.21.07 (by I. Russo) 2.13.07 (by M. Molasani), 2.13.07 (by Copland) and 3.6.07 (by R. Hilliar)."

4. "[A]ll reports, investigations, etc., regarding grievances: 42-085-07, 42-086-07, 42-274-07, 42-279-07, 42-365-07 [sic], 42-365-07, 42-476-07, 41-372-06 and letters to and from Thomas Egan 2.8.07, 2.14.07, 2.28.07, 3.5.07, and 3.14.07."

In response to the instant motion defense counsel indicates that claimant has now been provided a complete response to all demands, which consisted of approximately 14 inches of documents including inmate grievance file, inmate grievance correspondence, Superintendent's file, Deputy Superintendent's administration file, Rabbi Friedman's file and claimant's medical records. Upon consideration of the allegations in the claim, the Court finds this response to be adequate.[3]

To the extent claimant's demand denominated "3" above requires the production of the confidential records of the Inspector General, it is overly broad and improper under the circumstances of this case (see Lowrance v State of New York, 185 AD2d 268 [1992]; see also Vyas v Campbell, 4 AD3d 417,418 [2004], quoting Crazytown Furniture v Brooklyn Union Gas Co., 150 AD2d 420, 421 [1989]).

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



May 4, 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 January 20, 2009;
  2. Affidavit of Edward Koehl sworn to January 20, 2009 with exhibits;
  3. Affidavit of Michael C. Rizzo sworn to February 4, 2009 with exhibit;
  4. Unsworn reply "affidavit" of Edward Koehl dated February 9, 2009.

[1]. The Appellate Division, Third Department, held that petitioner's claim that he did not author the letter presented a credibility issue for the Hearing Officer to resolve and that the "threatening and obscene language directed at the recipient and his family - does not constitute protected speech under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution" (Matter of Koehl v Fischer, 52 AD3d at 1071).
[2].Claimant was transferred to the Upstate Correctional Facility SHU on March 22, 2007.
[3]. Claimant's reference to a prior Court Order is misplaced inasmuch as he is apparently referring to a Court Order in relation to claim number 114946 and not the instant claim.