New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
NOVA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2018-015-156, Claim No. 130455, Motion No. M-92280

Synopsis

Claimant's motion to compel answers to interrogatories was granted in part.

Case information

UID: 2018-015-156
Claimant(s): JULIO NOVA
Claimant short name: NOVA
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 130455
Motion number(s): M-92280
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Julio Nova, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Barbara D. Underwood, Attorney General
By: Glenn C. King, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: August 29, 2018
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant, proceeding pro se, moves to compel the defendant to respond to interrogatories pursuant to CPLR 3124.

Claimant, an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), seeks compensation for the loss of certain personal property allegedly delivered to the possession of DOCCS but not returned. Claimant served interrogatories on February 20, 2018 and the defendant responded on March 20, 2018, raising objections to all but one of the interrogatories.

Interrogatories may relate to "any matters embraced in the disclosure requirement of section 3101 and the answers may be used to the same extent as the depositions of a party" (CPLR 3131). CPLR 3101 requires "full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action . . ." Unlike a bill of particulars, however, the purpose of interrogatories is not to amplify a pleading, but to secure evidentiary material for use at trial (Medaris v Vosburgh, 93 AD2d 882 [2d Dept 1983]). Given this purpose, claimant's interrogatories numbered 1, 2 (a), (c), 3 (a) and 4 are objectionable and defendant need not respond. These interrogatories do not seek evidentiary material for use at trial. Rather, they seek defendant's interpretation of DOCCS' Directives (claimant's Exhibit A, interrogatories nos. 1, 2 [a], [c], 3 [a]), or the accuracy of claimant's legal conclusions (id. at interrogatory no. 4).

A different conclusion is reached with respect to claimant's interrogatories numbered 2 (b), 3 (b), (c) and (d) and 6, all of which seek relevant evidentiary material to which the defendant failed to appropriately respond, or to otherwise meet its burden of establishing privilege (see generally Madison Mut. Ins. Co. v Expert Chimney Servs., Inc., 103 AD3d 995 [3d Dept 2013] [party objecting to the disclosure bears burden of demonstrating that the sought-after materials are immune from discovery]). In addition, although defendant appropriately responded to claimant's interrogatory number 5, the response is not under oath as required (CPLR 3133 [b]).

Accordingly, claimant's motion is granted to the extent defendant is directed to provide answers to claimant's interrogatories numbered 2 (b) , 3 (b), (c) and (d), 5 and 6 within 30 days of the date this Decision and Order is filed. The motion is otherwise denied.

August 29, 2018

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of Motion, dated May 14, 2018;
  2. Affidavit in support, sworn to May 14, 2018, with Exhibits A - F;
  3. Affirmation in opposition, dated May 24, 2018, with Exhibits A - C.