New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
CUMBERLAND v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2021-015-071, Claim No. 136124, Motion No. M-96849


Claimant's motion was granted to the extent of compelling the defendant to provide certain documentation.

Case information

UID: 2021-015-071
Claimant(s): ROBERT CUMBERLAND #04-A-1829
Claimant short name: CUMBERLAND
Footnote (claimant name) :
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 136124
Motion number(s): M-96849
Cross-motion number(s):
Claimant's attorney: Robert Cumberland, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: Honorable Letitia James, Attorney General
By: Christina Calabrese, Esq., Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: July 20, 2021
City: Saratoga Springs
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant moves for an Order granting poor person status pursuant to CPLR 1101 and compelling defendant to respond to his demand for disclosure under CPLR 3124.

Claimant, an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), filed a claim for damages allegedly arising when he was terminated from his job in the Great Meadow Correctional Facility mess hall on November 27, 2020, and his subsequent placement on "No Work Status" by the facility Program Committee (Claim, 30, 31). Specifically, claimant alleges that he was terminated from his job in retaliation for his complaints concerning the lack of hand sanitizer in the mess hall, and that his termination and subsequent placement on no work status is discriminatory and violates DOCCS' rules and regulations.

In support of that branch of his motion requesting poor person status, claimant indicates that he is unable to pay the costs associated with prosecuting this action, including the cost of filing the instant motion. In the Court of Claims, however, aside from the initial filing fee, there are no court fees associated with the prosecution of an action. There is no fee for filing a motion and there is no fee for the filing of a Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness for Trial. To the extent claimant may require poor person status for the purposes of an appeal, he may request such relief at the appropriate time. At present, however, claimant's request for poor person status is unnecessary and will, therefore, be denied.

Turning to that branch of claimant's motion seeking discovery, claimant requests that the defendant provide him with all rules, regulations and DOCCS' Directives "which allows by either mandate or discretion the placement of inmates on 'No Work Status' sanctions, and which describes in either whole or part the purpose of such sanctions, the prerequisites of such sanctions, and the minimum and maximum duration of such sanction OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE ADMIT NO SUCH SANCTION EXISTS" (claimant's Exhibit, p. 1, 1).

In response to the instant motion, defense counsel indicates that although she initially assigned an investigator to obtain the requested documents, she has now requested them herself and will provide the same to the claimant "if appropriate" as soon as they are received (Calabrese affirmation, 4). There being no dispute as to the propriety of the claimant's requests, the Court will direct the defendant's compliance therewith.

Accordingly, claimant's motion is granted to the limited extent of directing the defendant to provide information responsive to the claimant's disclosure demand within 30 days of the filing date of this Decision and Order. Claimant's motion is in all other respects denied.

July 20, 2021

Saratoga Springs, New York


Judge of the Court of Claims

Papers Considered:

1. Undated notice of motion filed June 7, 2021;

2. Affidavit in support sworn to June 3, 2021, with exhibits;

3. Affirmation in Opposition dated July 5, 2021.