New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BECKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2001-015-162, Claim No. 103881, Motion No. M-63337


Claimant's motion for class-action certification denied as unsupported by factual allegations required under CPLR 901 et seq. Motion for assignment of counsel likewise denied for failure to support an affidavit alleging facts to support poor person motion under CPLR 1101.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Richard Becker, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
Michele M. Walls, Esquire
No Appearance
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
June 28, 2001
Saratoga Springs

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant's motion for class action status and for the assignment of counsel is denied.

The claim filed on February 26, 2001 apparently seeks interest on a $700.00 workers' compensation award made on some unspecified date in the year 2000 and additional unspecified damages which the claimant alleges total $14,000,000.00.

Claimant's motion, which is not opposed and which does not appear to have been served upon the Attorney General, fails to allege any facts relevant to a determination as to whether the prerequisites to a class action contained in § 901 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules have been satisfied. Section 901 (a) provides as follows:
a. One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all if:

1. the class is so numerous that joinder of all members, whether otherwise required or permitted, is impracticable;

2. there are questions of law or fact common to the class which predominate over any questions affecting only individual members;

3. the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class;
4. the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class; and

5. a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy
Claimant's motion for class action status must be denied for failure to establish entitlement to class action certification under CPLR § 901 (a) (Sharp, Matter of, v DeBuono, 278 AD2d 794, 797, amended on rearg 2001 WL 283602).

Likewise a motion for assignment of counsel in a civil action must be made pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules § 1101 (a) and requires an affidavit setting forth the amount and sources of the moving party's income listing real and personal property owned by the moving party and the value of such property, alleging that claimant is unable to pay costs, fees and expenses necessary to prosecute or defend the action and stating facts sufficient to ascertain the merits of the contentions and whether any other person is beneficially interested in the action. Claimant's failure to submit the affidavit required by § 1101 (a) requires denial of the motion. Moreover, 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.

June 28, 2001
Saratoga Springs, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims

The Court considered the following papers:

1. Motion dated March 29, 2001.