New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

WILKINS v. STATE OF NEW YORK, #2009-018-024, Claim No. 113341, Motion No. M-75935


Synopsis


Claimant’s motion to compel Defendant’s responses to certain interrogatories and production of certain documents is granted in part.

Case Information

UID:
2009-018-024
Claimant(s):
KORAN WILKINS
Claimant short name:
WILKINS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
113341
Motion number(s):
M-75935
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Claimant’s attorney:
PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISONBy: Kristy M. Tillman, Esquire
Defendant’s attorney:
ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Heather R. Rubinstein, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
April 27, 2009
City:
Syracuse
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Claimant brings a motion to compel Defendant’s responses to certain interrogatories and

demand for production of documents. Defendant opposes the motion.

The claim arises from an inmate assault on Claimant on May 9, 2005 at Five Points Correctional Facility. Claimant asserts that the State was on notice that he was at risk of being assaulted, yet, the State failed to honor his requests for protective custody.

Claimant served an “Amended First Set of Interrogatories and First Set of Requests for Production of Documents” on January 15, 2008. Defendant submitted a response dated April 15, 2008, in which objections were made to many of Claimant’s requests. Claimant served a “Second Set of Interrogatories and Second Set of Requests for Production of Documents” on June 13, 2008. Defendant served a response to this second demand on July 25, 2008, and again objected to the majority of Claimant’s demands. Defendant supplemented its response to Claimant on September 12, 2008. Claimant now seeks:
1. All documents relating to Claimant’s request for protective custody;

the investigation of his May 9, 2008 attack;

2. Claimant’s medical and mental health records and any Mental Health Unit
testimony relating to Claimant’s request for protective custody and the March 2005 Tier III hearing before Captain Grafton Robinson, and

3. All documents concerning the disciplinary history of the inmates involved

in the planning or execution of the attack on Claimant.


Defendant responds to Claimant’s request in item (1) by indicating it provided Claimant’s “Guidance File” from Five Points Correctional Facility for in camera review by the Court. This purportedly contains all documentation regarding Claimant’s requests for protective custody. Defendant provided two sealed envelopes to the Court. One envelope contained three copies of “Defendant’s Supplemental Response to Claimant’s Amended First Set of Interrogatories and First Set of Requests for Production of Documents.” This is identical to Exhibit C, attached to Defendant’s opposition papers and sent to Claimant’s counsel on September 12, 2008. Also provided in a separate sealed envelope is “Defendant’s Supplemental Response to Claimant’s Second Set of Interrogatories and Second Set of Requests for Production of Documents.” Both documents were sent to Claimant’s counsel on September 12, 2008, according to the affidavits of service. Thus, all of the documentation provided in camera to the Court has already been provided to Claimant’s counsel. The “remainder” (see Rubinstein Affirmation, ¶ 5) was not submitted to this Court. Therefore, if there are any other documents not previously provided to Claimant’s counsel which are part of Claimant’s “guidance file” or any that involve the investigation of the assault upon Claimant or Claimant’s request(s) for protective custody, they shall be provided to the Court in camera within fifteen (15) days of the date this Decision and Order is received by the State. If the Court finds these documents are relevant and not otherwise protected by some privilege, they will be directed to be released by separate Order. If no additional documents exist, Defendant’s counsel shall so state in a letter to the Court and counsel.

As for the medical records, Defendant attaches copies of the records previously provided to Claimant on September 12, 2008, which arguably represents all of Claimant’s medical records. For the mental health records, the Court issued an Order filed January 28, 2009, directing the Office of Mental Health to provide Claimant with copies of his mental health records. Defendant also agrees to provide Claimant with a transcript of any MHU testimony relating to Claimant’s request for protective custody and the March 2005 Tier III hearing before Captain Grafton Robinson. This transcript, shall be provided to Claimant within fifteen (15) days of the date this Decision and Order is received by the State.

Defendant objects to the disclosure of Claimant’s request in paragraph (3) “all documents concerning the disciplinary history” of all the inmates involved in the planning or attack of Claimant. Defendant has provided the transfer and disciplinary histories of four inmates although only Inmate B. Hall was actually identified as the assailant. Claimant is also requesting copies of any convictions for these inmates and any Tier II and Tier III hearing reports and supporting memoranda and reports as reflected in Claimant’s Exhibit 14, a letter to the Assistant Attorney General from Claimant’s counsel dated November 11, 2008.

Claimant argues that the information Defendant has already provided aptly reflects the violent propensities of the named inmates allegedly involved in the assault upon Claimant warranting further disclosure. Almost any inmate in these correctional facilities may be shown to have an aptitude for violence, it will be Claimant’s burden to show that there was a reason that the State should have known Claimant was at risk individually, as a member of some class, group, or circumstance, or as a result of the State’s experience, policy, or procedure (see Sanchez v State of New York, 99 NY2d 247). Some of Inmate Elliot’s Tier II and III hearings date back almost 14 years before the subject incident. Yet, certainly, the more recent infractions could have some relevance. Accordingly, the Court directs Defendant to produce any criminal convictions for the listed inmates and any Tier II or III hearing reports and memoranda for each inmate’s described hearing dates in Claimant’s Exhibit 14, for the three years preceding the subject incident. All tier hearing reports and memoranda or criminal convictions for inmate B. Hall (04-A-0075) as described in Claimant’s Exhibit 14 should be provided to Claimant’s counsel. These documents should be provided to Claimant’s counsel within 30 days of the date this Decision and Order is received by the State and are subject to the confidentiality Order dated July 22, 2008.

Accordingly, Claimant’s motion is GRANTED in accordance with the foregoing.



April 27, 2009
Syracuse, New York

HON. DIANE L. FITZPATRICK
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court has considered the following documents in deciding this motion:

1. Notice of Motion.

2. Affidavit of Kristy M. Tillman, Esquire, in support, with exhibits attached thereto.

3. Memorandum of Law in support.
4. Affirmation of Heather R. Rubinstein, Esquire, Assistant Attorney General, in opposition with exhibits attached thereto.