This claim, by a
prisoner, alleges negligence on the part of defendant in losing
claimant's wristwatch when he was transferred from Sing Sing Correctional
Facility (hereinafter Sing Sing) to Southport Correctional Facility (hereinafter
Southport) on April 19, 1996. The trial of this claim was held at Sing Sing on
August 3, 2000.
Claimant testified that he was sent to the Draft Room at Sing Sing at about
5:00 p.m. to be processed for transfer to Southport. Claimant stated that the
Draft Room Sergeant took his watch because the officer was unable to locate the
facility permit which allowed claimant to possess the watch. When claimant
arrived at Southport, he inquired about the watch. His correction counselor
responded that he had to contact Sing Sing (Exh. 1). Claimant submitted into
evidence, as Exhibit 2, a two-page document which consisted of a copy of a
package room receipt indicating that claimant received a watch from his brother.
The second page of the exhibit is a copy of a Sing Sing local permit dated
January 20, 1996 allowing claimant to possess an Armitron watch.
On cross-examination, the State introduced into evidence a copy of claimant's
I-64 Form (Personal Property Transferred Form) dated April 19, 1996 (Exh. A).
Claimant signed the I-64 Form when he left Sing Sing on April 19, 1996 and again
on April 22, 1996 when he received his property at Southport. Claimant admitted
that the I-64 Form does not show the watch as part of his property. However, he
stated, only property which is transferred is recorded on the form and since the
Draft Room Sergeant confiscated his watch it was not transferred with the rest
of his property and thus, not listed on his I-64 Form. Claimant also stated
that according to facility policy, as stated on his permit for the watch (Exh.
2), the maximum value of a watch he was allowed to possess in the facility was
On review of claimant's proof, we find and conclude the existence of a bailment
has been proven. We find that the documentary evidence (Exh. 2) and claimant's
credible trial testimony established that claimant possessed the watch on April
19, 1996 and that it was confiscated by the Draft Room Sergeant. The State's
refusal or inability to return the bailed item on demand creates a presumption
of negligence by the defendant, a presumption the State has failed to rebut
Singer Co. v Stott & Davis Motor Express
, 79 AD2d 227; Brisbane v
, Claim No. 88588, filed 6/25/96, Benza, J.). We further find and
conclude that claimant established that the value of the watch at the time it
was lost was $50.00.
Accordingly, we find and conclude that claimant is entitled to judgment in the
sum of $50.00, inclusive of interest, the value of the lost property as
determined by the Court.
The Chief Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.