New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PITTMAN v. New York, #2000-019-511, Claim No. 101942, Motion No. M-61372


Synopsis



Case Information

UID:
2000-019-511
Claimant(s):
GREGORY PITTMAN
Claimant short name:
PITTMAN
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
101942
Motion number(s):
M-61372
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
GREGORY PITTMAN, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: FREDERICK H. McGOWN, III, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 18, 2000
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant moves for an order assigning counsel to assist him in litigating this matter pursuant to CPLR 1101 and 1102.


The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
  1. Claim, filed February 10, 2000.
  2. "PETITION", Motion No. M-61372, dated February 1, 2000 and filed February 10, 2000.
  3. Affidavit of Gregory Pittman, in support of Petition, sworn to February 1, 2000.
  4. Letter from Amy E. Joyce, Assistant County Attorney to Hon. David B. Klingaman, received in the Office of the Chief Clerk on February 17, 2000.
  5. Affirmation of Frederick H. McGown, III, AAG, in opposition to motion, dated and filed February 28, 2000.
  6. ORDER, Ct Cl., February 29, 2000, Read, P.J., Claim No. 101942.
  7. Reply Brief of Gregory Pittman, dated March 27, 2000 and filed March 31, 2000.
Claimant alleges he was a passenger in a New York State van while being transferred from Shawangunk Correctional Facility to Sullivan Correctional Facility on July 15, 1999. More specifically, Claimant asserts he was restrained with handcuffs and shackles which necessitated the correction officer to fasten his seat belt. Claimant contends the correction officer used only the lap belt but did not put him in the available shoulder harness. This van was subsequently hit from behind and Claimant allegedly suffered various soft tissue injuries.


An Order has previously been issued reducing the filing fee for this Claimant to $15.00. (Pittman v State of New York, Ct Cl., February 29, 2000, Read, P.J., Claim No. 101942). This decision addresses the remaining issue of Claimant's request for assigned counsel. Claimant alleges he has a minimal income of $21.04 per month, no property and that no other person is beneficially interested in the recovery sought. Claimant does not indicate any attempts to obtain counsel on his own behalf or via various legal services.


The appointment of counsel is discretionary. (Matter of Smiley, 36 NY2d 433, 438). It is well-settled that counsel should not routinely be assigned except in a proper case, such as one involving "grievous forfeiture or loss of a fundamental right". (Morgenthau v Garcia, 148 Misc 2d 900, 903). A review of the pleadings reveals this case to be a standard personal injury case and, as such, fails to rise to the level warranting assignment of counsel. Rather, this personal injury case is of the conventional type in which counsel is traditionally retained on a contingent fee basis. Consequently, the Court declines to exercise its discretionary authority on this matter.

In view of the foregoing, it is ORDERED, that Claimant's motion, Motion No. M-61372, is DENIED, except to the extent previously granted.


April 18, 2000
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims