New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
SCOTT v. STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2020-015-065, Claim No. 128858, Motion No. M-95524

Synopsis

Claimant's motion to compel discovery was denied in part and granted in part.

Case information

UID: 2020-015-065
Claimant(s): RANDOLPH SCOTT
Claimant short name: SCOTT
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 128858
Motion number(s): M-95524
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney: Randolph Scott, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Glenn C. King, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: August 18, 2020
City: Saratoga Springs
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

Claimant, proceeding pro se, moves to strike defendant's answer or, in the alternative, to compel compliance with his demands for discovery and inspection.

Claimant, a former inmate, seeks damages for the conduct of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) in depriving him of the use of a cane at Upstate Correctional Facility, which resulted in several falls.

CPLR 3101 (a) provides for the "full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action." The Court of Appeals has interpreted these words liberally to require the disclosure "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" (Allen v Crowell-Collier Publ. Co., 21 NY2d 403, 406 [1968]; see also Galasso v Cobleskill Stone Prods., Inc., 169 AD3d 1344 [3d Dept 2019]; Wiggins v Kopko, 105 AD3d 1132 [3d Dept 2013]). The scope of this statute is very broad, "consistent with New York's policy of permitting 'open and far-reaching pretrial discovery' " (Kavanagh v Ogden Allied Maintenance Corp., 92 NY2d 952, 954 [1998] [citation omitted]). The party seeking disclosure need only establish either "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" (Gomez v State of New York, 106 AD3d 870, 872 [2d Dept 2013], quoting Vyas v Campbell, 4 AD3d 417, 418 [2d Dept 2004] [other citation omitted]; Jordan v Blue Circle Atl., 296 AD2d 752 [3d Dept 2002]).

Although the claimant's failure to support his motion with a copy of a duly served discovery demand would ordinarily require denial of his motion (see CPLR 3102 [b]; 3124), defense counsel courteously provided the Court with both a copy of the claimant's discovery demand and its response thereto. The Court has reviewed claimant's Requests for Production together with the defendant's response and finds that defendant's objections to claimant's demands numbered 1 (b), 1 (c), 1 (d), 1 (f), 1 (g), 2, and 4 are well founded as these demands are either unduly vague or overly broad. With respect to claimant's demands numbered 1 (e) and 3, defendant has provided the documents requested in these demands, together with the grievance documents that claimant requested in an unnumbered demand. Claimant's demand numbered

1 (a), however, is not unduly vague or otherwise objectionable as defendant contends. It seeks the production of "[a]ll medical permit(s) while confined at Upstate C.F. and Green Haven C.F." (see defendant's Exhibit A). Read in the context of this claim, claimant is clearly seeking medical permits issued to him at these facilities.

Accordingly, claimant's motion is denied except to the limited extent of requiring the

defendant to provide the documents demanded in claimant's request number 1 (a) within 30 days of the date this Decision and Order is filed.

August 18, 2020

Saratoga Springs, New York

FRANCIS T. COLLINS

Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

  1. Notice of motion dated March 13, 2020;
  2. Affidavit of Randolph Scott sworn to March 13, 2020;
  3. Affirmation of Glenn C. King, Esq., dated July 29, 2020, with exhibits.