New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

PRICE v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-005-544, Claim No. 96639, Motion Nos. M-62166, CM-62217


Claimant's motion for an order compelling the production of certain witnesses and documents at his trial is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied. Defendant's cross-motion seeking dismissal of that part of the claim seeking damages for personal suffering, etc. is granted and otherwise denied.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
Motion number(s):
Cross-motion number(s):
Donald J. Corbett, Jr.
Claimant's attorney:
Danny PricePro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Carla T. Rutigliano, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
August 30, 2000

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


On August 25, 2000, the following papers, numbered 1 to 6, were read on motion by Claimant for an order compelling the production of certain witnesses and documents at his trial and on cross-motion by Defendant for dismissal of the claim:

1, 2 Notice of Motion and Affirmation

3, 4 Notice of Cross-Motion and Affirmation

5, 6 Filed Papers: Claim, Answer

Upon the foregoing papers, the motion is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied, the cross-motion is granted in part, and otherwise denied.

The claim herein is scheduled for trial on September 21, 2000, at 8:30 a.m., and Claimant has made a motion for the production of certain witnesses and documents at the trial. In response, the Defendant, in addition to opposing the motion, has moved for dismissal of that part of the claim which seeks damages for personal suffering as a result of Claimant's alleged loss of personal property, to wit, a bailment.

Specifically the claim alleges the loss of one bag of Claimant's personal property between the time it was packed up on or about January 23, 1997, and March 13, 1997 when he went to pick up his property. The claim alleges that no I-64 form was utilized to pack up his property when he departed from Auburn to attend a court appearance elsewhere. The claim specifies some 19 items or categories of personal property allegedly missing and a 13 page copy of the package room list, all of which allegedly total some $617.04 in damages, to which Claimant adds the amount of $2,000.00, for "personal lost suffering, etc. (sic)." It is this element of damages for which Defendant seeks dismissal. There is no cause of action in New York State to recover for mental anguish due to the negligent destruction of personal property (London v State of New York, Collins, J., Claim No. 99928, Motion No. M-59416, June 14, 1999, citing Caprino v Silsby, 226 AD2d 1078, other citations omitted). This part of the cross-motion is granted and that part of the claim is dismissed.

Claimant seeks various documents. In Paragraph A, he seeks the file in Inmate Claim # AUB 010-0063-97. Defendant opposes the request on the ground that Claimant has the same in his possession, and appended them to his interrogatories. To the extent that this file holds correspondences as well as interviews, and that the same were attached to Claimant's interrogatories, I will not direct their production as trial by the Defendant, however Defendant will not be permitted to object to their introduction at trial on foundation or authenticity grounds, but only on the basis of relevance or materiality. In other words Claimant may offer such documents already in his possession without certification by the Defendant. My ruling with respect to Paragraph C, the temporary storage room log book for January 23 and 24, and March 13, 1997, and to Paragraph D, DOCS Directive 4934, is the same. To the extent that such documents are not appended to Claimant's interrogatories, the Defendant should have the same available at trial, as the sought-after documents appear to be pertinent. Paragraph B, Inmate Grievance Program No. AUB-28242-97 and Paragraph E, seeking DOCS Directive 2733, both sought to show that the institutional property claim was mishandled, are irrelevant to the issue of liability in the loss in the first place, and to its value in the second place, and as such those requests are denied. Paragraph F, seeking "Inmates legal folder" is vague, and, except to the extent that Claimant seeks copies of Forms 2064 relative to the dates in question, that request is denied.

Claimant also seeks the testimony of Correction Officers Mendoza and Lavin regarding the packing up of his property. It would appear that Officer Lavin's testimony would be most relevant, since he apparently was with Claimant when he packed his personal property and left the bags. Since I am advised that he is still employed at Auburn, I direct the Defendant to produce C.O. Lavin at trial without the necessity of subpoena. Only if C.O. Lavin is unavailable is the Defendant directed to produce C.O. Mendoza, again without the necessity of subpoena. I find that the prospective testimonies of C.O. Griffin, Correction Sergeant John Doe and Correction Sergeant Wimet (phonetic) are all unnecessary or material to the loss of Claimant's property.

While offers of settlement are generally not brought to the Court's attention, and are not probative with regard to admissions of liability or proof of damages, Claimant has appended certain documents demonstrating an offer of settlement that apparently was rejected due to disagreement of the value of the lost property. If the ultimate issue before this Court is merely the valuation of damages, then it would not be necessary for either C.O. Lavin or Mendoza to testify, and I would hear evidence only on the issue of damages.

Accordingly, the Claimant's motion is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied. The cross-motion with respect to personal suffering, etc., is granted, and otherwise is denied.

August 30, 2000
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims