Petitioners’ claims in this proceeding are discussed at Iength in threeprior decisions to which the court refers.
26 Misc 3d 1236 [A] , 2010 NY Misc Lexis
18 [denying petition], 30 Misc 3d 616  [granting reargument and remanding for furtherfindings]; 33 Misc 3d 330 [201 I] [granting petition and requiring SEIS],
Dept 20121.)Petitioners claim that they are prevailing parties in this proceeding, and are thereforeentitled to attorney’s fees and expenses under the EAJA. (Baker Aff. In Support
2; Butzel Aff.In Support
Respondent argues that petitioners are not entitled to attorney fees under theEAJA because the proceeding was not a “civil action brought against the state.” In addition,respondent argues that petitioners are not prevailing parties within the meaning of the EAJA, andthat the ESDC’s position in the Article 78 proceeding was “substantially justified.” (Resp.’sMemo. Of Law In Opp. at 1
Applicabilitv of the EAJAThe EAJA provides, in pertinent part, that “a court shall award to a prevailing party,other than the state, fees and other expenses incurred by such party in any civil action broughtagainst the state, unless the court finds that the position of the state was substantially justified orthat special circumstances make an award unjust.” (CPLR 8601
Under the EAJA, “‘[s]tate’means the state or any of its agencies or any of its officials acting in his or her official capacity.”(CPLR 8602 [g].)The EAJA “was enacted to ‘improv[e] access to justice for individuals and businesseswho may not have the resources to sustain a long legal battle against an agency that
actingwithout justification.”’ (Matter of New York State Clinical Lab. Assn.
Kaladiian, 85 NY2d2