New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

SHERVINGTON v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-017-020, Claim No. 98576


Synopsis


After a trial at Fishkill Correctional Facility, the Court dismissed the Claim, finding that claimant's acceptance of $107.50 for items of property that he claimed were lost upon his transfer to the Special Housing Unit constituted full settlement of the Claim.

Case Information

UID:
2000-017-020
Claimant(s):
MARK SHERVINGTON
Claimant short name:
SHERVINGTON
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
98576
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
ANDREW P. O'ROURKE
Claimant's attorney:
Mark Shervington, Pro Se
Defendant's attorney:
Hon. Eliot Spitzer
Attorney General of the State of New York
By: Dewey Lee, Esq.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
July 21, 2000
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


Decision
Claimant, an inmate proceeding
pro se, filed this Claim against defendant to recover damages for property that was allegedly lost on August 18, 1997 when claimant was housed in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Fishkill Correctional Facility (Fishkill). A unified trial was held on May 25, 2000.
At trial, claimant testified that upon confinement to SHU on July 21, 1997, correction officers packed his belongings in six plastic bags, inventoried the personal property (
see, Claim, Form 2064 ["I-64"]), tagged it with claimant's name and identification number and stored claimant's belongings. Claimant testified that before confinement in the SHU, he was permitted to look through his belongings, verify the contents and take specified items with him to the SHU. Upon his release on August 18, 1997, claimant discovered that one plastic bag of property was missing. After cross-referencing property recovered with items listed on the aforementioned I-64 form, claimant determined that the loss amounted to $1,430.73.
Once the State took possession of claimant's personal property, the State owed claimant the duties of a bailee. The State's failure to produce claimant's property or offer a reasonable explanation for such failure warrants an inference of negligence (
see, Claflin v Meyer, 75 NY 260; Ahlers v State of New York, Claim No. 82543, Unreported Decision of Corbett, J. [filed 12-23-91]). Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Court finds that claimant has already been compensated for the losses arising from this bailment transaction. At trial, claimant testified that he filed a claim for the aforementioned losses with the facility and was offered a settlement of $107.50. In order to receive the settlement money, claimant was required to return a notarized Claim and Release Form and N.Y.S. Standard Voucher (see, Claim, Memorandum from Carl Oken). Claimant's account was credited $107.50 with a check drawn on a petty cash account of the Fishkill Correctional Facility (see, Exh. A).
Claimant conceded that he accepted the settlement money, but testified that he did so on the belief that it was only partial settlement for some of the lost items. Although given the opportunity to do so, claimant has failed to provide the Court with any evidence to substantiate his claim that the money he received from the State was intended to cover only part of his loss. Accordingly, this Court finds that claimant's acceptance of $107.50 constituted full compensation for the losses at the core of this Claim. Thus, Claim No. 98576 is DISMISSED.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


July 21, 2000
White Plains, New York

HON. ANDREW P. O'ROURKE
Judge of the Court of Claims