New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CHAVIS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-013-019, Claim No. 100419, Motion No. M-63721


Synopsis


A claim brought by a non-attorney which asserts a cause of action on behalf of family members is dismissed as improperly brought.

Case Information

UID:
2001-013-019
Claimant(s):
GEORGE CHAVIS
Claimant short name:
CHAVIS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100419
Motion number(s):
M-63721
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Philip J. Patti
Claimant's attorney:
GEORGE CHAVIS, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General of the State of New York
BY: William D. Lonergan, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 19, 2001
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision


On August 15, 2001, the following papers were read on Defendant's motion for an order of dismissal:
1. Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit of William D. Lonergan, Esq. ("Lonergan Affidavit")

2. Affidavit in Opposition: None Received


3. Filed Papers: Claim; Answer


The substantive portion of this claim, which was filed by pro se Claimant George Chavis, reads as follows:

On date of 8-22-98, my mother and brothers (2), had visited me at Lakeview Prison, at an "unauthorized" time, due to false information given them over the phone by my vindictive SHU-Counselor, on 8-11-98, resulting in loss of travel expenses by my family members.


Claimant served a Notice of Intention on September 11, 1998 (Lonergan Affidavit, Exhibit A), and the Claim was filed and served in May 1999. In its answer, the State raised the following as its fifth affirmative defense:

The claim is inappropriately brought, as the Claimant is not authorized to practice law under the New York State Judiciary Law. As such, Claimant cannot bring an action on behalf of his family members.


Defendant now moves for an order dismiss the claim on this ground.

CPLR 321(a) provides that an adult party "may prosecute or defend a civil action in person or by attorney," and Judiciary Law §478 makes it unlawful for persons who have not been admitted to practice law to appear as or hold themselves out as attorneys. Claimant has made no submission in opposition to Defendant's motion and, because he expressly indicates that he has brought this action "pro se," I have no option but to conclude that he has neither the authority to represent his family members in this matter nor a claim to assert on his own behalf.

Defendant's motion is granted, and Claim No. 100419 is dismissed.


September 19, 2001
Rochester, New York

HON. PHILIP J. PATTI
Judge of the Court of Claims