New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ARCHER v. New York, #2000-015-025, Claim No. 100404, Motion No. M-61174


Synopsis


An attorney to serve without fee will only be appointed whena poor person faces grievous forfeiture or loss of a fundamental right.

Case Information

UID:
2000-015-025
Claimant(s):
PAUL A. ARCHER
Claimant short name:
ARCHER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption of the claim has been amended sua sponte to reflect the only properly named defendant as the State of New York.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100404
Motion number(s):
M-61174
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Paul A. Archer, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: No Appearance
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 29, 2000
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

The motion of the claimant for an order pursuant to CPLR 1101 and 1102 permitting him to proceed as a poor person and assigning him an attorney to prosecute the claim without compensation is denied. This is a claim filed on May 20, 1999 by an inmate appearing pro se seeking to recover for personal injuries allegedly sustained as the result of negligent and intentional tortious conduct on the part of employees of the Department of Correctional Services which occurred at the Oneida Correctional Facility on January 28 and 29, 1999. Claimant asserts that he is unable to pay the costs, fees and expenses necessary to prosecute this claim and owns no real or personal property of any value.

At the time that this claim was commenced (see, L 1999, ch 412, effective December 7, 1999) section 27 of the Court of Claims Act prohibited the imposition of costs, fees and disbursements in this type of claim. Consequently, claimant's inability to afford Court costs is without merit. As to the request for the assignment of counsel, the Court of Appeals has held that there is no constitutional or statutory requirement that indigents be assigned private counsel in civil litigation of this nature (Matter of Smiley, 36 NY2d 433). Smiley has been interpreted for the proposition that the Court should not routinely approve requests made by indigents for the assignment of private counsel without compensation unless the litigation involves grievous forfeiture or loss of a fundamental right (Morgenthau v Garcia, 148 Misc 2d 900 903). This claim does not rise to that level.


March 29, 2000
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The Court considered the following papers:

  1. Notice of motion dated January 26, 2000;
  2. Affidavit of Paul A. Archer sworn to January 26, 2000, with exhibits;
  3. Claim filed on May 20, 1999.