New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BONDS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-015-032, Claim No. 101992, Motion No. M-61370


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2000-015-032
Claimant(s):
JOHNNIE BONDS
Claimant short name:
BONDS
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
101992
Motion number(s):
M-61370
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant's attorney:
Johnnie Bonds, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Joel L. Marmelstein, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 2, 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 § 1102 (a) assigning him an attorney to prosecute the claim without compensation is denied. This is a claim by an inmate appearing pro se to recover the sum of $227.50 as the reasonable value of three pieces of artwork that were allegedly broken and destroyed while in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services. The claimant alleges an income of $4.25 a week and states that he has no other property or sources of income. The portion of the motion seeking a waiver of the filing fee has been addressed in the prior order of Presiding Judge Read filed on March 10, 2000 and this decision and order addresses only 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 Courts 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.


May 2, 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 October 27, 1999;
  2. Affidavit of Johnnie Bonds sworn to October 27, 1999;
  3. Claim filed on February 22, 2000, with exhibits;
  4. Order of Judge Read filed on March 10, 2000;
  5. Affirmation in opposition of Joel L. Marmelstein dated March 31, 2000.