New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RIVERA v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-019-566, Claim No. 106263, Motion No. M-65583


Claimant's motion for an order directing the Court to arrange for access to law library and writing materials; and to encumber his account for extra photocopying and legal postage is denied.

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:
Defendant's attorney:
BY: Joseph F. Romani, Assistant Attorney General,of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 6, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, moves for an order directing prison officials to encumber his account to cover his photocopying and legal postage needs; granting him additional law library access; and providing him extra writing pads. The State of New York (hereinafter "State") takes no position relative to this motion.

The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
1. Claim, filed June 21, 2002.
2. ORDER, Read, P.J., Claim No. 106263, filed July 12, 2002.
3. Verified Answer, filed July 15, 2002.
4. Notice of Motion No. M-65583, dated July 24, 2002, and filed July 31, 2002.
5. Affidavit of Jose Rivera, in support of motion, sworn to July 28, 2002.
6. Affirmation of Joseph F. Romani, AAG, in response to motion, dated August 19, 2002, and filed August 21, 2002.

This underlying Claim alleges that on August 5, 2001 prison officials applied a wrist chain too tight and delayed providing him adequate medical care for his resulting injuries while incarcerated at Southport Correctional Facility. Claimant served a Notice of Intention upon the Attorney General's office by certified mail, return receipt requested, on or about August 17, 2001. This Claim was filed with the Clerk of the Court on June 21, 2002. The State filed a Verified Answer on July 15, 2002. An Order has previously been issued by the Presiding Judge reducing the filing fee for this Claimant to $15.00 pursuant to Court of Claims Act 11-a (1). (Rivera v State of New York, Ct Cl, July 12, 2002, Read, P.J., Claim No. 106263).

Initially, this Court notes that this motion is remarkably similar to a prior motion this Court recently denied in relation to another one of Claimant's pending claims. (Rivera v State of New York, Ct Cl, August 2, 2002, Lebous J., Claim No. 105785, Motion Nos. M-65234 & M-65320). Inasmuch as it appears that Claimant may not have yet received this Court's prior Decision & Order before he filed this motion, the Court will once again reiterate those findings as they are equally applicable here.

Essentially, Claimant asserts that he cannot afford the cost of multiple photocopies of various documents that he requires in order to pursue 4 pending cases and researching 20 more possible cases, not necessarily all Court of Claims matters. The fact that Claimant avows to be impoverished because he is incarcerated entitles him to no greater rights than a non-prisoner pro se litigant who does not have the funds to carry out all the normal steps of litigation, including discovery. (Gittens v State of New York, 175 AD2d 530). In the event an inmate is unable to afford the cost of photocopying, it would not be unreasonable for an inmate to transcribe by hand multiple copies of relevant papers for the purpose of filing and serving same. In short, Claimant's request for an order directing prison officials to encumber his account to pay for his various photocopying needs is denied.

With respect to Claimant's request for additional legal postage, the State already provides Claimant, as an inmate, five free first-class stamps weekly and will advance up to $20 for legal mail postage, if the inmate has insufficient funds. (7 NYCRR 720.8 (b) & part 721; Robbins v State of New York, Ct Cl, January 9, 2001, NeMoyer, J., Claim No. 102325, Motion No. M-62803). Based upon these regulations, Claimant should have adequate means to serve and file any papers related to this claim.

Nor will this Court intervene on the issue of Claimant's access to the law library and legal writing pads. (Gagne v State of New York, Ct Cl, November 30, 2001, Patti, J., Claim No. 98686, Motion No. M-63259; see also, Leach v Dufrain, 103 F Supp 2d 542 [authorities may regulate the time, place, and manner of library use]). Consequently, these remaining requests are denied as well.

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, that Claimant's motion, Motion No. M-65583 is DENIED in its entirety.

September 6, 2002
Binghamton, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims