New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
SILVA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2019-059-005, Claim No. 130482, Motion No. M-94274

Synopsis

Case information

UID: 2019-059-005
Claimant(s): JULIAN SILVA
Claimant short name: SILVA
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 130482
Motion number(s): M-94274
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: MAUREEN T. LICCIONE
Claimant's attorney: JULIAN SILVA, pro se
Defendant's attorney: HON. LETITIA JAMES, ATTORNEY GENERAL
By: Dorothy M. Keogh, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: August 23, 2019
City: Central Islip
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

This is a claim by an inmate in a State correctional facility ("Silva" or "Claimant") who is appearing pro se. Claimant alleges that he was wrongfully confined in "keeplock" at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility because he was not timely released on October 10, 2016 in accordance with his disciplinary sentence. Claimant also contends that he filed a grievance on October 19, 2016 and that the decision on the grievance was negligently sent to the wrong cell resulting in his inability to file a timely appeal. On July 20, 2017, Silva filed another grievance protesting the failure to send the earlier grievance determination to his cell. That grievance was denied on September 21, 2017. Claimant appealed on September 27, 2017. The record does not indicate the outcome of the appeal or when a determination was received, if at all.

Issue was joined and Claimant proceeded with discovery demands dated January 3, 2019. The defendant ("Defendant" or "State") produced a number of documents but objected to producing other documents responsive to three of the five demands. Silva states that he corresponded with the Attorney General's office in a "good faith" effort to "have the discovery produced" in March and April of 2019. That effort apparently failed and Claimant's instant motion to compel pursuant to CPLR 3124 ensued.

Defendant opposes the motion by alleging that none of the contested documents is relevant to Claimant's allegations. The State argues that Claimant's remaining and unfilled demands for documents prepared in 2018 are irrelevant because the alleged wrongful confinement took place in 2016.

More specifically, Demand No. 3 was for the "2018 Hearing Officer's Guide" and Demand No. 4 was for the "2018 NYSDOCCS Employee Manual". Defendant responded to these two Demands by objecting to their production because they were "unduly vague, over broad and burdensome, and requires the production of documents which are not relevant nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Defendant also objected to these two Demands by alleging that releasing this information "could pose a threat to the safety and security of the correctional facility." However, in opposition to Claimant's instant motion the State does not raise any objection other than relevance.

Demand No. 5 was for the "Inmate Grievance Program Training Manual", without specifying a year. In response to this demand, Defendant made the same objections as it did to Demand Nos. 3 and 4, but eliminated the safety and security objection. In opposition to Claimant's motion, Defendant asserts that Demand No. 5 also requested irrelevant documents.

CPLR 3101 (a) requires "full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action." " The phrase 'material and necessary' should be 'interpreted liberally to require disclosure, upon request, of any facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity. The test is one of usefulness and reason'" (Foster v Herbert Slepoy Corp., 74 AD3d 1139, 1140 [2d Dept 2010], citing Friel v Papa, 56 AD3d 607, 608 [2d Dept 2008], quoting Allen v Crowell-Collier Publ. Co., 21 NY2d 403, 406 [1968]). A party, however, does not have the right to "uncontrolled and unfettered disclosure" (Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v Walsh, 45 AD3d 531, 531 [2d Dept 2007]). "It is incumbent on the party seeking disclosure to demonstrate that the method of discovery sought will result in the disclosure of relevant evidence or is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of information bearing on the claims" (Vyas v Campbell, 4 AD3d 417, 418 [2d Dept 2004]).

Here, Claimant does not state why the documents requested in Demand Nos. 3, 4 and 5 might disclose relevant evidence or lead to discovery of items bearing on his claims. Indeed, the documents requested in Demand Nos. 3 and 4 appear to be irrelevant to activities which are alleged to have taken place one or two years earlier.

Based upon the foregoing, Claimant's motion is denied.

August 23,2019

Central Islip

MAUREEN T. LICCIONE

Judge of the Court of Claims

August 23, 2019

Central Islip , New York

MAUREEN T. LICCIONE

Judge of the Court of Claims