New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
JUSTICE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2010-031-055, Claim No. 116230, Motion No. M-77287, Cross-Motion No. CM-77577

Synopsis

In Camera review of documents demonstrates that they are not relevant to Claimant's action. Claimant's motion to compel production of treating staff's e-mails denied. Defendant's cross-motion for a protective order is granted.

Case information

UID: 2010-031-055
Claimant(s): JOHN D. JUSTICE
Claimant short name: JUSTICE
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 116230
Motion number(s): M-77287
Cross-motion number(s): CM-77577
Judge: RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney: JOHN D. JUSTICE, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney: HON. ANDREW M. CUOMO
New York State Attorney General
BY: BONNIE GAIL LEVY, ESQ.
Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: September 30, 2010
City: Rochester
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

In a decision and order filed on May 3, 2010, I directed Defendant to submit certain emails for in camera review. Those emails had been the subject of Claimant's previous motion to compel and Defendant's cross-motion for a protective order. This Decision and Order addresses the discoverability of those emails.

BACKGROUND

In his supplemental claim filed on August 3, 2010, Claimant, an inmate at Auburn Correctional Facility at the time of accrual, alleges that beginning on December 5, 2008, agents of Defendant improperly and, in fact, fraudulently designated Claimant as an inmate with a "serious psychiatric illness." This designation is apparently preventing Claimant from being confined in a medium security facility as opposed to a maximum security facility.

Previously, with motion M-77287, Claimant sought to compel the production of any emails which relate to him and were sent or received from his therapist's computer. Claimant alleged that such emails would demonstrate the existence of an apparent State-wide conspiracy against him, the purpose of which was to fraudulently and inappropriately designate him as having a "serious psychiatric illness," when he in fact does not.

Defendant then cross-moved for a protective order relating to those same emails. In support of its application, Defendant submitted the affidavit of Susan Strickland, the Chief of the Forensic Unit at Auburn Correctional Facility. In her affidavit, Dr. Strickland set forth that any such e-mails are not considered nor kept as part of Claimant's clinical record (which has been released to Claimant pursuant to MHL 33.13 and 33.16 and 14 NYCRR 520 et seq.). Dr. Strickland also expressed her concern as to the effect that the compelled production of any such e-mails would have on Claimant's treatment and behavior.

In a Decision and Order filed on May 3, 2010, I determined that it was appropriate to review the emails in camera to balance Claimant's need for the emails as they relate to the prosecution of his claim and Defendant's stated concerns about turning them over.

After having reviewed the documents submitted for in camera review by Defendant, I find that nothing contained in the documents supports Claimant's allegation of the existence of a conspiracy to improperly classify his mental health status. Accordingly, the documents are not discoverable and need not be produced to Claimant.

Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED, that Defendant's cross-motion for a protective order is GRANTED. Defendant is hereby relieved of any obligation to produce the subject emails, and it is further

ORDERED, that to the extent Claimant's motion to compel (M-77287) was left unresolved by my previous Decision and Order to review the emails in camera, that motion is now denied in its entirety.

September 30, 2010

Rochester, New York

RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK

Judge of the Court of Claims