New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

TOR v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-015-037, Claim No. 110874, Motion No. M-70252


Synopsis


Court denied motion seeking assignment of counsel in action seeking damages for battery and medical indifference by DOCS personnel.

Case Information

UID:
2005-015-037
Claimant(s):
BUDHA TOR
Claimant short name:
TOR
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
110874
Motion number(s):
M-70252
Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FRANCIS T. COLLINS
Claimant’s attorney:
Budha Tor, Pro Se
Defendant’s attorney:
Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
By: Saul Aronson, EsquireAssistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant’s attorney:

Signature date:
September 1, 2005
City:
Saratoga Springs
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision

Claimant's application seeking the appointment of counsel is denied. The claim filed May 11, 2005 seeks to recover damages for personal injuries arising from an alleged assault and battery upon the claimant by correction officers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York. The claim also alleges deliberate indifference by facility medical staff following the July 20, 2004 battery. Claimant seeks $9,500.00 in compensatory damages.

Claimant's application for a reduction of the filing fee imposed by Court of Claims Act § 11-a was granted by order of Presiding Judge Richard E. Sise dated May 26, 2005. The claimant by this motion now seeks to obtain an attorney to represent him with regard to this claim.

The State opposed the motion through the affirmation of Assistant Attorney General Saul Aronson dated June 20, 2005 on the grounds that claimant is not likely to suffer a loss of liberty or a grievous forfeiture, that the cost of pursuing an action in the Court of Claims is de minimis and the motion was not served upon the appropriate county attorney as required by CPLR 1101.

Claimant's application for the assignment of counsel must be denied. 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 (Smiley, Matter of, 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). This claim does not rise to that level.


September 1, 2005
Saratoga Springs, New York

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


The Court considered the following papers:
1. Petition of Budha Tor dated May 5, 2005;
  1. Affirmation of Saul Aronson dated June 20, 2005;
  2. Letter from Budha Tor dated June 22, 2005.