New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

CURRO v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-016-018, Claim No. 103105


Synopsis


Claim of inmate alleging lost property was dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2003-016-018
Claimant(s):
ANDREW CURRO
Claimant short name:
CURRO
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
103105
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Alan C. Marin
Claimant's attorney:
Andrew Curro
Defendant's attorney:
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney GeneralBy: Joseph F. Romani, AAG
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
March 5, 2003
City:
New York
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
This is the claim of Andrew Curro, which was tried at Sullivan Correctional Facility, where Mr. Curro testified on his own behalf and for its part, defendant called correction officer Timothy Doyle. The claim arises from the loss of two bags of Mr. Curro's personal property.

Claimant testified that on September 10, 1999, he was transferred from Sullivan Correctional Facility to Green Haven Correctional Facility. He said that prior to the transfer, he was told by a correction officer to pack only one bag for the trip, since he would be leaving right away. Curro recalled that he packed about one-half a bag and left the remainder of his property in his Sullivan cell. He also recalled that he asked to take his legal papers in the bag that was going with him, but said they did not in fact go with him; he did not elaborate.

Curro testified that after he arrived at Green Haven, his inmate account was charged for the transfer of 11 bags of property. He explained that he thereafter successfully filed a grievance because the facility is required to ship four of an inmate's bags.

Claimant testified that two of the 11 bags – which were sent via United States Postal Service – did not arrive. He explained that the facility had insured such bags for $50 a piece and he collected $100 from the Postal Service for the two missing bags. He argued that the bags should have been insured for a greater amount, as his property was worth much more than $50 per bag.

With regard to the items contained in the missing bags, Curro testified that one bag contained: a copy of the transcript from his criminal trial, two blankets, two mirrors, nine packs of cigarettes, five nail clippers, a tweezer, two combs, 40 hangers, a dictionary and two pairs of scissors. The other bag contained canned foods.

With regard to the value of such items, claimant did not introduce any receipts into evidence. As to the criminal transcript, he testified that it was 966 pages long and that he would be charged $1.375 per page to replace it. See also claimant's exhibit 1, which contains a communication from the New York State Office of Court Reporters, listing the cost as $1.375 per page. As of the date of this trial, Curro had not replaced the transcript. He did not testify as to the value of the remaining items, although in his claim, he seeks the total amount of $1,352.28.
* * *
Officer Timothy Doyle testified that he was a correction officer at Sullivan Correctional Facility on September 10, 1999 and that he signed claimant's I-64 "Personal Property Transferred" form for the bag of property transferred with claimant on that date. He testified that such form does contain a notation indicating that legal papers were contained in such bag, although he could not recall what particular papers were contained in the bag. See p. A34 of claimant's exhibit 1. However, he testified on cross-examination that he also signed one of the I-64 forms for the property sent to Curro by the Postal Service which indicates that such bags also contained legal papers. See p. A41 of claimant's exhibit 1.
* * *
As to Curro's complaint that his property should have been insured for a sum greater than $50 per bag, no evidence was introduced as to the Department of Correctional Services' ("DOCS") policies and procedures in such regard, or as to those of the Postal Service.

With regard to Curro's legal papers, DOCS Directive No. 4917 provides that "[a]ctive legal case materials are to be packed" in the bags that accompany the transferring inmate, but that in an emergency, they may follow the inmate. See claimant's exhibit 3. As set forth above, the I-64 forms introduced into evidence indicate that legal materials were contained both in the bag that traveled with claimant and also in the bags that were later sent to him. Even accepting claimant's testimony that his criminal trial legal transcript did not accompany him to Green Haven, he provided no details as to the circumstances surrounding his request to take his transcript with him. Nor was there any evidence as to whether the transcript was from an "active" legal case.

Moreover, it is well established that after an inmate's property has been delivered to the U.S. Postal Service, "beyond that point, [the State] is no longer responsible" for any loss of such property.
Odom v State of New York, Ct Cl filed August 14, 2000 at p. 2, (unreported, claim no. 93187, Ruderman, J.).
In view of the foregoing, claim no. 103105 is dismissed.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

March 5, 2003
New York, New York

HON. ALAN C. MARIN
Judge of the Court of Claims