New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

RICHARDS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-016-050, Claim Nos. 98295, 98296


Pro se
claimant alleged property loss at correctional facility. The claim was dismissed after trial.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
98295, 98296
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Mark Richards
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Earl Gialanella, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 25, 2000
New York

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)

Pro se claimant Mark Richards asserts that because of defendant's negligence, items of his personal property were lost at Sullivan Correctional Facility. These claims were tried at Sullivan on June 21, 2000. Richards testified on his own behalf and defendant called correction officer Greg Senft.
Richards testified that when he was sent to the Special Housing Unit (SHU), his personal property was packed by correction officers, apparently on October 9, 1997. He stated that when the property was later unpacked, he noticed that there were missing items: a radio and a burgundy-colored rug.

Claimant said that he was then transferred to Great Meadow Correctional Facility and after the transfer, he noticed that other items of his property were missing. He explained that he took his I-64 "Personal Property Transferred" forms and compared them with his property to confirm the missing items. With regard to those items, he said that 18 months later, he got back his Adidas sneakers, three tee shirts and five hangers, so he wished to withdraw his claim with respect to those items.

Claimant said that he filed an internal claim for the radio, and received $15 for it. He also apparently filed an internal claim with regard to the other missing items, although he said he never learned the result of such claim.[1]

With regard to the items allegedly lost in connection with claimant's transfer to Great Meadow, Richards explained that some of the items were shipped on the bus with him and some were sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Claimant said he did not know how the items were packed.
* * *
Officer Greg Senft took the stand and said that he was working at Sullivan Correctional Facility in October of 1997, his duties including security as well as the provision of meals and distribution of property to inmates in the SHU.

He stated that when inmates are sent to the SHU, their property is packed up from their housing area – usually not in the inmate's presence – and then later brought down to the SHU for the inmate to view. The property, which is sealed in draft bags and secured, is brought into the inmate's presence and he is asked to check it. Senft testified that both he and claimant signed an I-64 form (Exhibit A) when claimant was in the SHU. He further stated that he did not recall claimant making any assertion that any property was missing at that time.

Defendant also admitted through Senft another I-64 form (Exhibit B): that form was prepared when claimant's property was packed at Sullivan and then opened in his presence after he was moved to Great Meadow. Again, the document is signed by claimant and there is no indication that any property was missing.

A third I-64 form was introduced (Exhibit C) which relates to the transfer of additional items of Richards' property from Sullivan to Great Meadow. This I-64 form contains a "To be mailed" notation on the top. Senft explained that this is because inmates are only permitted to take four bags with them on the bus when they are transferred; any excess property must be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service at the inmate's expense. Claimant signed this form and he also signed an additional notation at the bottom of the form which states "only 4 boxes received . . . 1 more box received 12/9/97)." There is no indication as to the total number of boxes to be sent.
* * *
As set forth above, claimant signed all three I-64 forms. They contain no notations as to missing property. Moreover, at trial, claimant provided no explanation as to why he signed the forms if in fact his property was missing. Nor did he provide receipts or other evidence as to the property. In view of the foregoing, he has not made his case by a fair preponderance of the evidence. Accordingly, the claims of Mark Richards are dismissed.

July 25, 2000
New York, New York
Judge of the Court of Claims

  1. [1]The items listed in claim no. 98295 consist of: one pair of Timberland work boots, one pair of Timberland hiking boots and one pair of Nike sneakers, valued at a total of $150. The items listed in claim no. 98296 consist of: one pair of sneakers, one pair of basketball shoes, one rug, five plastic containers, 3 pairs of gloves, five shirts, 12 tee shirts, 6 socks, seven undershorts, three sweat shirts and 25 stamps, valued at a total of $200. Neither of the claims refers to hangers or a radio.