Affirmation in Opposition, with Exhibits 4
In his motion, claimant seeks permission to amend both his notice of intention
and his claim in order to add an additional individual, Commissioner Goord, as a
defendant, as well as to add the official title to two other individually named
defendants previously listed in the caption of his claim. At the time he
instituted this motion, claimant had not yet filed any claim with the Clerk of
the Court. This Court has been advised, however, that his claim has since been
filed with the Clerk of the Court as of August 24, 2004.
With regard to claimant's request to amend his notice of intention, the Court
notes that the limited purposes of a notice of intention are to place the State
on notice of a potential claim against it, and also to provide a claimant with
additional time in which to institute such claim. Since claimant, in the
instant manner, has now filed and served his claim, there is no purpose
whatsoever in granting claimant permission to amend his notice of intention.
In connection with claimant's request for permission to amend his claim, the
Court has examined the filed claim, as well as the proposed amended claim
submitted with claimant's moving papers. The two claims are identical in their
allegations, with the only difference being the caption of the claim, in which
claimant seeks to add an additional State official, as well as add the
representative capacities to two other previously named individual defendants.
The Court of Claims, however, is a court of limited jurisdiction, and is
authorized to hear claims only against the State of New York and certain public
. When the alleged wrong-doer is a
State employee, the proper party defendant in this Court is the "State of New
York" only and not the named employee, whether he is named individually or in
his official capacity as a State employee. This Court, therefore, does not have
subject matter jurisdiction over the individuals who have been specifically
named as defendants in this claim, or sought to be added as a defendant by this
Claimant has also made application for poor person relief and the assignment of
Claimant's application for a reduction of the filing fee in this claim has
previously been addressed by an Order of Presiding Judge Richard E. Sise, filed
August 31, 2004. Claimant, however, has also requested the appointment of
counsel to represent him in this matter.
The decision to assign counsel is a matter of judicial discretion, and such an
assignment is not an absolute right in civil litigation (Matter of
Smiley, 36 NY2d 433). The allegations made in this claim establish to the
satisfaction of the Court that this is the type of claim that is routinely
handled by inmate claimants on a pro se basis, and the claim does not
involve any complicated issues of fact or law. The Court therefore finds that
this case does not warrant the exercise of discretion in assigning counsel under
the standards of Matter of Smiley, supra.
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, that Motion No. M-68894 is hereby DENIED in its entirety.