Darryl Morgan ("Claimant") filed claim number 100606 on June 24 1999, alleging
that Defendant is responsible for the loss of Claimant's personal property
valued at $387.50. I held a trial on this matter on October 22, 2002, at Wende
Claimant testified that on April 19, 1999, while incarcerated at Wende
Correctional Facility, he was placed in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") and his
personal property was packed in his absence by correction officers. Three days
later, when he was permitted to inventory his property, he noticed that many
items were missing.
According to Claimant, the correction officers responsible for gathering his
belongings after he was taken to SHU failed to properly pack and secure his
personal property. Claimant alleges that the value of this lost property is
$387.50, and he seeks recovery of that amount.
Exhibits 1 and A, I-64's listing the Claimant's personal property for April 19,
1999 and April 22, 1999 respectively, are of some assistance. These two
documents are, as Claimant points out, inconsistent and suggest that certain
personal items inventoried on April 19, 1999, were missing on April 22, 1999.
For instance, the April 19, 1999 I-64 indicates that the Claimant possessed 10
pairs of non-State issued socks. The April 22, 1999 I-64 indicates only 6 pairs
of such socks. However, while certain items such as these socks seem to have
disappeared, other items inexplicably seem to have been added to Claimant's
property during this three-day period. For instance, there is no mention made
of cigars on the April 19, 1999 I-64. The April 22, 1999 I-64, however,
indicates that Claimant possessed 2 boxes of cigars. Additionally, the I-64
forms offer no assistance with regard to Claimant's other contentions; that
certain items in his possession were not listed on either document, and that his
typewriter was damaged while in Defendant's possession.
Defendant offers no explanation for the variations in property listed on the
two I-64 forms, but does not dispute that its agents conducted the inventories
of Claimant's property and that Claimant's property was in Defendant's
possession during the time in question.
Claimant has established that his personal property was lost while in
Defendant's possession. I find, therefore, that Defendant is liable to Claimant
for the loss of this property (
7 NYCRR § 1700.7; see also Weinberg v D-M Rest.
., 60 AD2d 550). Claimant is entitled to recover from Defendant the
fair market value of the lost property (see Phillips v Catania
155 AD2d 866). Although Claimant was not in possession of receipts with which
to document the precise value of the property, based upon Claimant's testimony
and the other evidence before this Court, I find that Claimant is entitled to an
award of $65.00 for his lost property, together with the appropriate interest
from April 19, 1999, until the date of this decision and thereafter to the date
of entry of judgment, pursuant to CPLR 5001 and 5002.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.