New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

MORGAN v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2003-031-505, Claim No. 100606


Synopsis


Prisoner - bailment - claimant established liability of the State for the loss of personal property. Claim granted in the amount of $65.00.

Case Information

UID:
2003-031-505
Claimant(s):
DARRYL MORGAN Caption amended sua sponte to show the only proper defendant.
Claimant short name:
MORGAN
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :
Caption amended sua sponte to show the only proper defendant.
Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100606
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Claimant's attorney:
DARRYL MORGAN, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
New York State Attorney General
BY: WENDY E. MORCIO, ESQ.Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 4, 2003
City:
Rochester
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
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 Correctional Facility.

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 (
see 7 NYCRR § 1700.7; see also Weinberg v D-M Rest. Corp., 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.

February 4, 2003
Rochester, New York

HON. RENÉE FORGENSI MINARIK
Judge of the Court of Claims