Inmate claimant's motion to compel discovery
|Claimant short name:||LAMAGE|
|Footnote (claimant name) :|
|Defendant(s):||THE STATE OF NEW YORK|
|Footnote (defendant name) :|
|Judge:||Terry Jane Ruderman|
|Claimant's attorney:||EDWIN LAMAGE
|Defendant's attorney:||HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
Attorney General for the State of New York
By: Elyse Angelico, Assistant Attorney General
|Third-party defendant's attorney:|
|Signature date:||June 18, 2010|
|See also (multicaptioned case)|
The following papers numbered 1-2 were read and considered by the Court on claimant's motion to compel discovery:
Notice of Motion, Claimant's Supporting Affidavit and Exhibits...........................1
Defendant's Affirmation in Opposition and Exhibits................................................2
Claimant seeks to compel defendant's compliance with his discovery demands 8 and 9. These demands relate to his claim for excessive wrongful confinement after a disciplinary hearing wherein he was found to have possessed and smuggled an envelope containing a metal can lid in a prohibited area on March 24, 2009. Claimant seeks the Inmate Misbehavior Report of inmate Strain and his disciplinary record regarding the March 24th incident. Claimant argues that these items are material and relevant to the prosecution of his claim because both he and Strain were issued a misbehavior report on the same charges arising out of the incident which occurred on March 24, 2009 as reported by Correction Officer Evans.
Absent a finding that disclosure would be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals, a petitioner is entitled to documents that would be relevant to his defense (see Matter of Torres v Goord, 261 AD2d 759; Matter of Cowart v Coughlin, 193 AD2d 887, 888). "In general, a petitioner may be entitled to the misbehavior reports of other inmates if they are shown to be relevant to the incident in question and specifically refer to the petitioner's conduct" (Matter of Santana v Selsky, 307 AD2d 557, at 557; see also Matter of Mullady v Goord, 270 AD2d 821, 822).
The Court has reviewed the subject documents in camera. Claimant has failed to establish entitlement to Strain's disciplinary record. However, upon review of the records of Strain's disciplinary hearing, the Court finds that it is discoverable insofar as it specifically refers to claimant's conduct and would not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals. Accordingly, claimant's motion is DENIED as to Strain's disciplinary record (Demand 9) and GRANTED as to those parts of Strain's misbehavior report (Demand 8) which refer to claimant's conduct and are therefore relevant to this claim. The Court has redacted those portions of Strain's disciplinary hearing which are not discoverable.
A copy of the unredacted hearing shall be sealed and retained in the Office of the Clerk of the Court. The Court has sent a courtesy copy of the redacted hearing to the defendant. If a Notice of Appeal is not filed within 30 days of receipt of a certified copy of this Order, then the Court will release a copy of the redacted hearing to claimant.
June 18, 2010
White Plains, New York
Terry Jane Ruderman
Judge of the Court of Claims