New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
ARMSTRONG v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-016-015, Claim No. 110967, Motion No. M-77503

Synopsis

Case information

UID: 2010-016-015
Claimant(s): CHARLES ARMSTRONG
Claimant short name: ARMSTRONG
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 110967
Motion number(s): M-77503
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney: Ofodile & Associates, P.C.
By: Robert J. Winnemore, Esq.
Defendant's attorney: Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General
By: Janet L. Polstein, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: March 2, 2010
City: New York
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant Charles Armstrong moves for an order compelling disclosure from the State of New York. In his claim, Mr. Armstrong alleges that because defendant failed to provide him with a safe method such as a ladder to ascend and descend from his top bunk at Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, he fell and injured himself on February 23, 2005.

Specifically, claimant seeks "complaints, request[s], and grievances for two years prior to Feb. 23, 2005 by State prison inmates on bunk beds in cells throughout the State prison system and their inability to safely get up to the top bunks and safely descend therefrom without safe and adequate stationary ladders. . . , " along with the State's "response to each one" and "actions taken by the State to correct each one." With respect to Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, he seeks all such documents for three years, as opposed to two, prior to February 23, 2005.

Defendant represents that there are sixty-six correctional facilities in the State of New York and that grievances and complaints are not kept according to subject matter, but rather by name. The court agrees, as defendant argues, that it would be unduly burdensome for defendant to search for the requested documents at all sixty-six facilities. With regard to Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, according to defendant, the Inmate Grievance Program Coordinator at such facility "went through the grievance files by hand and manually located nine grievances from the facility since 2002 regarding injuries involving bunk beds." These grievance file records are annexed as exhibit E to defendant's opposition papers.

Claimant also seeks "lawsuits for the two years prior to Feb. 23, 2005 by inmates throughout the State prison system for injuries for the State's refusal and failure to provide lower bunks when requested and for the State's refusal and failure to provide safe and adequate stationary ladders to get to and descend from the top bunks, including the name of each case, the Court, location, and Claim number . . ." With respect to Arthur Kill, he seeks all such documents for three years, as opposed to two, prior to February 23, 2005.

Defendant points out that "[t]his information is publicly available on the Court of Claims website." Defendant attaches as exhibit F to its opposition papers a copy of its own "MacLaw" query on the Court of Claims website for the terms "bunk and bed" which resulted in 57 opinions since 2000.

In view of the foregoing, having reviewed the submissions(1) , IT IS ORDERED that motion no. M-77503 be denied.

March 2, 2010

New York, New York

Alan C. Marin

Judge of the Court of Claims


1. The following were reviewed: claimant's notice of motion with affirmation in support and undesignated exhibits; and defendant's affirmation in opposition with exhibit A through F.