New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PORTER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-015-585, Claim No. 106214


Synopsis


Court granted defendant's trial motion to dismiss claim for failure to prove a prima facie case of negligence arising from activities if inmate law clerk who assisted claimant in preparing an appeal of his conviction to Court of Appeals.

Case Information

UID:
2004-015-585
Claimant(s):
TYRONE PORTER
Claimant short name:
PORTER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
106214
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Tyrone Porter, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Kevan Acton, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
January 29, 2004
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

In his claim filed on June 13, 2002 the claimant alleges that the defendant was negligent on April 5, 2002 when the Department of Correctional Services negligently misrepresented that an inmate law library clerk assigned to assist claimant was, in fact, an attorney. Claimant also asserts that the defendant negligently supervised the clerk's activities.

At trial the claimant testified that he requested and was provided the assistance of an inmate law library clerk to assist him in preparing an appeal to the Court of Appeals following an Appellate Division affirmance of his conviction for the sale of a controlled substance. As evidence of this fact the claimant offered and the Court received claimant's Exhibit 1, a legal assistance authorization form from Great Meadow Correctional Facility relating that the claimant conferred with an inmate law clerk on April 5, 2002. According to the claimant the inmate law clerk failed to prepare the necessary paperwork and, as a result, he was unable to prosecute his appeal in a timely manner. Claimant also contends that his file was never returned to him despite repeated requests.

On cross-examination the claimant admitted he was aware that the law clerk he consulted was an inmate, that he never asked the inmate law clerk whether he was an attorney, that no agent or employee of the defendant ever represented to the claimant that law library clerks were lawyers and that his claim does not refer to a cause of action based upon the loss of legal documents.

Thereafter, the State moved to dismiss the claim on the basis that the claimant had failed to establish a prima facie case of negligence. The Court granted the motion finding that the claimant had failed to adduce any proof of negligence on the part of the defendant or any of its officers or employees. The claim is dismissed.

Let judgment be entered accordingly.


January 29, 2004
Saratoga Springs, New York

HON. FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Judge of the Court of Claims