New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GONZALEZ v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2000-019-006, Claim No. 95231


Synopsis


Claim dismissed for failure to prove a prima facie case of bailment.

Case Information

UID:
2000-019-006
Claimant(s):
WILFREDO GONZALEZ
Claimant short name:
GONZALEZ
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
95231
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
WILFREDO GONZALEZ, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: Michael W. Friedman, Assistant Attorney General of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
May 19, 2000
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
This is an action for bailment arising from the alleged negligence of the State of New York (hereinafter "State") while Claimant was incarcerated at Shawangunk Correctional Facility. The bifurcated trial of this Claim was held on May 10, 2000 at the Sullivan Correctional Facility.


Claimant presented only his own testimony, by way of an interpreter, and averred that on August 22, 1996 he was taken from his cell for interrogation by outside law enforcement agencies. Claimant alleges that a correctional officer from Shawangunk Correctional Facility entered his cell and confiscated some of his personal property during his absence. Thereafter, Claimant testified that while some of his property was returned on August 30, 1996 other items were still missing. Claimant's institutional grievance was denied.


At trial, Claimant admitted he did not have the I-64 property form or any other receipts establishing either his original possession or the State's subsequent possession of the allegedly missing property. In an attempt to overcome this deficiency, Claimant testified that his I-64 property form and other receipts were taken by the prison personnel. Claimant also stated that as part of discovery he had requested from the State copies of his I-64 property form and/or any other memoranda concerning this incident. The Attorney General's Office represented it was not in possession of the requested documentation. In addition, Claimant alleges the receipts were attached to his filed Claim; however, there are no attachments to the Claim on file with the Court.


To establish a prima facie case of negligence in a bailment transaction, a claimant must show that his property was deposited with the defendant and that the latter failed to return it. (
Weinberg v. D-M Rest. Corp., 60 AD2d 550). Here, Claimant conceded that he could not produce any receipts or I-64 property form establishing either his own original possession of the items or that this property was ever in the custody of the State. As such, Claimant has failed to sustain his burden. Consequently, the Court has no alternative but to dismiss this Claim due to Claimant's failure to prove a prima facie case.

Consequently, Claim No. 95231 is DISMISSED.


ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.


May 19, 2000
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims