New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims
COLEMAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2021-040-018, Claim No. 134753, Motion No. M-96598

Synopsis

Pro se Claimant's Motion to compel discovery denied as Claimant did not serve discovery demand on Defendant.

Case information

UID: 2021-040-018
Claimant(s): SHAQUAWN COLEMAN, 18A1929
Claimant short name: COLEMAN
Footnote (claimant name) :
Defendant(s): THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Third-party claimant(s):
Third-party defendant(s):
Claim number(s): 134753
Motion number(s): M-96598
Cross-motion number(s):
Judge: CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY
Claimant's attorney: Shaquawn Coleman, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney: LETITIA JAMES
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Charles Lim, Esq., AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:
Signature date: June 3, 2021
City: Albany
Comments:
Official citation:
Appellate results:
See also (multicaptioned case)

Decision

For the reasons set forth below, pro se Claimant's Motion for discovery pursuant to CPLR 3120 is denied.

This pro se Claim, which was filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court on May 26, 2020, alleges that, while incarcerated at Franklin Correctional Facility on March 18, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m. and 7:25 p.m., Claimant was assaulted by various correction officers.

As an initial matter, the Court notes that Claimant failed to set forth that he served a discovery demand upon Defendant. The Court further notes that Defense counsel states, in his affirmation submitted in opposition to Claimant's Motion, that Defendant did not receive any discovery demands from Claimant regarding this Claim prior to receiving the instant Motion (Affirmation of Charles Lim, Esq., Assistant Attorney General [hereinafter, "Lim Affirmation"], 4).

CPLR 3120(1) provides, in pertinent part, that, after commencement of an action, a party may serve upon another party a notice to produce designated documents or any other things in the possession or control of the party being served. However, the party seeking discovery has to serve a discovery demand upon the other party and designate the items it is seeking. Here, Claimant has failed to establish he has complied with these requirements. In addition, CPLR 3124 allows a party seeking disclosure to make a motion to compel that disclosure, only if the other party fails to comply with a discovery demand. Here, there is no evidence that Defendant failed to comply with a discovery demand made by Claimant.

However, Defense counsel treated the motion as a discovery demand and provided a response with documents relevant to the Claim (Lim Affirmation, 5, and Exs. A, B, and C attached thereto).

The Court notes that, in Defendant's response to Claimants Demand 2(c) for his Office of Mental Health (hereinafter, "OMH") records, Claimant is advised that OMH requires a signed authorization from Claimant prior to releasing any OMH records (Lim Affirmation, 8). Thus, if Claimant is interested in receiving the records, he is advised to sign a medical authorization.

The Court also notes that, in response to Claimant's Demand 2(e) seeking copies of grievance complaints indicating Claimant was examined by medical staff on April 7, 2020 for an incident that occurred on March 18, 2020, Defendant stated that "a representative from DOCCS [Department of Corrections and Community Supervision] [advised] that Claimant has no grievance complaints on file from 2020 to the present" (Lim Affirmation, 10). The Court requests that Defendant perform a second search, as Claimant submitted, as part of his Motion papers, a DOCCS "Inmate Grievance Program" response to a Grievance that was filed on April 9, 2020. The response is dated May 5, 2020 and denied Claimant's Grievance. Thus, it appears that Claimant should have at least one grievance on file.

The Motion to compel the State to provide discovery, therefore, is denied.

June 3, 2021

Albany, New York

CHRISTOPHER J. McCARTHY

Judge of the Court of Claims

The following papers were read and considered by the Court on Claimant's Motion to compel:

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion & Motion for Discovery 1

Affirmation in Opposition & Exhibits attached 2

Filed Papers: Claim, Answer