New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

ERAZO v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-031-050, Claim No. 100943, Motion No. M-65850


Synopsis


Claimant's request for assignment of counsel and the adjournment of his scheduled trial in this personal injury action is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2002-031-050
Claimant(s):
ANGEL ERAZO
Claimant short name:
ERAZO
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100943
Motion number(s):
M-65850
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
ANGEL ERAZO, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: WENDY E. MORCIO, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 10, 2002
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

On October 8, 2002, the following papers, numbered 1 to 3, were read on motion by Claimant for the appointment of counsel and an adjournment of his scheduled trial:
1. Notice of Motion filed September 27, 2002;
2. Affidavit of Angel Erazo, sworn to September 17, 2002;
3. Filed documents: Claim and Answer. This is Claimant's motion seeking appointment of counsel to represent him in the preparation and trial of his claim against the State. In that regard, he has also requested an adjournment of the trial of this matter, scheduled for October 24, 2002, so that the attorney appointed could familiarize himself or herself with the file. The claim, filed August 23, 1999, alleges that, on September 16, 1997, while incarcerated at Collins Correctional Facility, Mr. Erazo was assaulted by correction officers and forced to swallow a razor blade. He seeks to recover damages in the amount of $500,000.00 for his resulting injuries.

The State has informally notified the Court that it takes no position on Claimant's motion.

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 (Wills v City of Troy, 258 AD2d 849, lv to app dismissed, 93 NY2d 1000; Morgenthau v Garcia, 148 Misc 2d 900, 903). I have examined the underlying claim and find that this matter involves neither a fundamental right, nor is of sufficient complexity to warrant assignment of counsel (see Matter of Smiley, supra; Matter of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hosp. Ctr. 159 Misc 2d 932, 936, modified and remanded, 215 AD2d 337).

Based on the foregoing, it is;

ORDERED, Claimant's motion for the assignment of counsel to represent him in this matter and for an adjournment of the scheduled trial is denied.


October 10, 2002
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims