New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

GRANT v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2002-013-510, Claim No. 98119


Prisoner property claim for $194.50 is conceded by the State. All other aspects of the claim - for interference with prison privileges, interference with ability to do legal work, and interference with ability to prosecute other lawsuits -- were not proven.

Case Information

Claimant short name:
Footnote (claimant name) :

Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

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

Cross-motion number(s):

Claimant's attorney:
Defendant's attorney:
Attorney General of the State of New York
BY: WENDY E. MORCIO, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 5, 2002

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)


This claim arose in September 1996, when Claimant was taken to the infirmary and then to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Gowanda Correctional Facility, where he was detained for five days. He alleges that he was deprived of certain privileges while in SHU, that some of his personal property was found to be missing when he was released from SHU, and that by interfering with his privileges and causing the loss of his property, the State interfered with his prosecution of certain legal actions, requiring him to exert considerable additional effort, and in one instance, causing him to abandon a civil lawsuit.

Fourteen missing items, which Claimant valued at $194.50, were the subject of an inmate claim (Exhibit A). In response to that claim the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) agreed to compensate Claimant for the full amount (Exhibit D). He declined to accept that sum because of this pending claim, which also seeks compensation for his missing legal work and other lost property that was "more intangible" in nature. He states that he did not attempt to seek full recovery in connection with the inmate claim because DOCS places a limit of $5,000.00 on the amount that can be recovered through such process and the interference with his ongoing legal actions entitles him to compensation, in the thousands of dollars, for the additional work he was required to perform and to similarly large compensation for the award that he would have received in the civil actions.

Other than the personal property for which he has been offered compensation, and as limited by his claim, Claimant seeks to recover for the following: deprivation of a change of clothing while in SHU; deprivation of showers while in SHU; deprivation of an opportunity to materials relevant to active legal work while in SHU; being limited to two, rather than four, bags of personal property when he left SHU; the cost of obtaining a duplicate set of all papers in the action of
Grant v Shubuck; the amount that Claimant would have received as an award if he had been able to pursue the action of Grant v The Buffalo News; and compensation for the additional time and effort Claimant had to expend in order to complete his CPL 440.10 motion in a timely fashion.
Claimant called Lt. Van Camp, who investigated his inmate claim and grievance, to confirm that as a result of his investigation it was determined the personal property claim should be granted in full, as it appeared that the property had been lost through no fault of Claimant. Lt. Van Camp also investigated a grievance commenced by Claimant, complaining of the restrictions allegedly placed on him while in SHU (Exhibit C). Through his investigation, he determined that owing to the time of day when Claimant had been taken to SHU and the time of day he was later released to general population, Claimant was entitled to a shower only on September 25, 1996, and that he received one on that day. With respect to his allegations that he had been deprived access to his legal materials, Lt. Van Camp testified that requests for such items had to be made from the property officer during the morning, but that Claimant's requests were all made in the afternoon, until the last day of his confinement in SHU. Correction Officer Robert Thayer, Correction Officer Wisniewski, and Correction Officer Loretto also testified on behalf of Claimant, but their testimony failed to establish any of the elements of his claim.

I find that Claimant has failed to prove any portion of his claim except the loss of personal property valued at $194.50. I further find that Claimant is not entitled to recover pre-judgment interest on this amount, because payment was offered to him as a result of his institutional claim but declined by him at that time.

All motions not heretofore ruled on are now denied.


March 5, 2002
Rochester, New York

Judge of the Court of Claims