New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BROWN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-007-507, Claim No. 97856


Synopsis


Claimant alleges various items of his personal property were lost by defendant when he was transferred from Bare Hill Correctional Facility to Clinton Correctional Facility. Claim dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2000-007-507
Claimant(s):
DELANO BROWN The caption has been amended, sua sponte, to reflect the defendant over which the court has jurisdiction.
Claimant short name:
BROWN
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
The caption has been amended, sua sponte, to reflect the defendant over which the court has jurisdiction.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
97856
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
John L. Bell
Claimant's attorney:
Delano Brown, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
(Michael Rizzo, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, of Counsel)
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
April 26, 2000
City:
Plattsburgh
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision

Claimant alleges various items of his personal property were lost by defendant when he was transferred from Bare Hill Correctional Facility (hereinafter Bare Hill) to
Clinton Correctional Facility (hereinafter Clinton) in February 1996.
Claimant testified that in February 1996 he was sent to the special housing unit at Bare Hill and thereafter he was transferred to Clinton. His property was ostensibly packed in bags by correction officers. He stated that he received four bags on February 28 and another four bags on March 4. Claimant averred that when the property arrived he was not permitted to inspect it. He asserts that when he subsequently inspected the property in his cell he discovered that various items were missing.

Defendant produced an I-64 inventory of claimant's property that had been signed by claimant acknowledging receipt of his property. Claimant asserted that he had been "compelled"[1]
to sign the I-64 and that he was not afforded an opportunity to inspect the bags of property before signing for them.
Determining the merits of the claim turns in significant part upon the credibility of claimant's contention that he was compelled to sign the relevant I-64 forms before he was permitted to inspect the bags of property. Assessing credibility of witnesses and resolving factual disputes is the responsibility of the court when acting as a trier of fact (
LeGrand v State of New York, 195 AD2d 784, 785, lv denied 82 NY2d 663; see, Johnson v State of New York, 265 AD2d 652).
Here, claimant's credibility as a witness was not impressive. For example, he asserted damages of $1,050 for 175 purportedly lost cassette tapes. Upon closer questioning, he acknowledged that he paid less than $1,050 for the tapes. One of the items for which he claimed compensation was a pint of ice cream. Claimant failed to provide an adequate explanation as to how the pint of ice cream was going to be preserved while being shipped. He failed to provide any convincing proof that the allegedly lost transcripts still had any meaningful value in pending litigation. Claimant's contention that, after his damaged typewriter was repaired, it "typed Chinese" was devoid of merit (
see, Claimant's Exhibit 5).
The court concludes that claimant's testimony lacked credibility and therefore does not accept his contention that he was compelled to acknowledge receipt of his property prior to inspecting it. The court is not convinced that the property was lost while in the possession of defendant and thus the claim must be dismissed.

The Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims is directed to enter judgment dismissing the claim.


April 26, 2000
Plattsburgh, New York

HON. JOHN L. BELL
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1]
All quotes are from the court's trial notes unless otherwise noted.