New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GROF v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2004-019-591, Claim No. 104254, Motion No. M-69177


Synopsis


Claimant's motion for poor person relief is denied.

Case Information

UID:
2004-019-591
Claimant(s):
ROBERT GROF
Claimant short name:
GROF
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
104254
Motion number(s):
M-69177
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
ROBERT GROF, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Joseph F. Romani, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
October 21, 2004
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant, an inmate appearing pro se, moves for an order designating him as a poor person and waiving all photocopying costs associated with discovery while litigating this matter. (CPLR 1101). The State of New York (hereinafter "State") opposes the motion.

An Order has previously been issued by this court reducing the filing fee for this claimant to $40.00 as required by Court of Claims Act 11-a (1). (Grof v State of New York, Ct Cl, May 23, 2001, Read, P.J., Claim No. 104254).


A motion to proceed as a poor person must be served upon the parties, as well as the county attorney where the action is triable. (CPLR 1101 [c]). Claimant's affidavit of service does not demonstrate service on the county attorney which is, in and of itself, grounds for denying this motion.


Additionally, to the extent that claimant's motion may be construed as a request for the appointment of counsel it is denied as well. Is well-settled that the appointment of counsel is discretionary in civil matters. (Matter of Smiley, 36 NY2d 433, 438). Generally, counsel will not routinely be assigned except in a proper case, such as one involving "grievous forfeiture or loss of a fundamental right." (Morgenthau v Garcia, 148 Misc 2d 900, 903). A review of the pleadings before the court in this case reveals a matter of average complexity. In sum, this case fails to rise to the level warranting assignment of counsel and the court declines to exercise its discretionary authority on this matter.


Finally, with respect to claimant's request for a waiver of all photocopying costs in relation to discovery, 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). There is no general provision which requires the State to pay the litigation expenses in claims brought against it and it is well settled that the State has the right to require claimant to pay reasonable photocopying costs of demanded discovery documents. (Id.).


In view of the foregoing, it is ORDERED, that claimant's motion, Motion No. M-69177, is DENIED.


October 21, 2004
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims


The court has considered the following papers in connection with this motion:
  1. Claim, filed May 9, 2001.
  2. ORDER, Read, P.J., Claim No. 104254, filed May 23, 2001.
  3. Notice of Motion No. M-69177, dated September 20, 2004, and filed September 27, 2004.
  4. Affidavit of Robert Grof, in support of motion, sworn to September 20, 2004.
  5. Affirmation of Joseph F. Romani, AAG, in opposition to motion, dated October 12, 2004, and filed October 14, 2004.
  6. "Response to Affirmation in Opposition", of Robert Grof, dated October 13, 2004, and filed October 18, 2004, with attachments.