New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

BILLINGER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-019-023, Claim No. 100856


Synopsis


Claimant failed to establish either bailment or negligence cause of action regarding prison officials confiscation of medically issued sneakers provided at no cost; bench decision rendered; claim dismissed.

Case Information

UID:
2005-019-023
Claimant(s):
MARVIN BILLINGER, #95-A-3562
Claimant short name:
BILLINGER
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
100856
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Claimant's attorney:
MARVIN BILLINGER, PRO SE
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER, ATTORNEY GENERALBY: Geoffrey B. Rossi, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
September 6, 2005
City:
Binghamton
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant, Marvin Billinger, an inmate appearing pro se, alleges that prison officials improperly confiscated a pair of medical sneakers belonging to him upon his transfer from Green Haven Correctional Facility (hereinafter "Green Haven") to Elmira Correctional Facility on July 10, 1999. A trial was held in this matter on August 30, 2005 at the Elmira Correctional Facility (hereinafter "Elmira").


At trial, claimant testified Green Haven prison officials provided him at no cost a pair of sneakers and a separate pair of boots pursuant to a medical permit due to a foot condition. Thereafter, claimant was transferred to Elmira. It is undisputed that on or about July 12, 1999, Elmira prison officials confiscated claimant's sneakers. Claimant filed a claim on August 10, 1999 alleging bailment and/or negligence causes of action.


Upon cross-examination, claimant conceded that even though his sneakers were confiscated that he possessed the original pair of medical boots issued by Green Haven. Additionally, claimant admitted that Elmira officials provided him with a second pair of medical boots with inserts after they confiscated his sneakers. Further, the State established that the sneakers were deemed contraband and confiscated because they contained a hole or compartment which could be used to hide various contraband. In short, the State adequately established that the sneakers were properly confiscated in accordance with facility safety rules and regulations.


Consequently, at the close of claimant's case, the court granted the State's motion to dismiss and rendered a decision on the record on behalf of the State. More specifically, the court found that claimant failed to establish a bailment cause of action since the State confiscated the medical sneakers in accordance with facility rules and regulations regarding contraband. Parenthetically, the court notes that the medical sneakers were provided to claimant at no cost and thus claimant suffered no financial loss upon their confiscation. Further, to the extent that claimant attempted to establish a negligence cause of action relating to alleged pain and suffering due to the loss of the sneakers, claimant failed to establish a prima facie case. In this court's view, claimant was always in the possession of
a pair of medically issued shoes even after his medical sneakers were confiscated, namely the first pair of boots provided by Green Haven and then later a second pair of boots issued by Elmira.

At the conclusion of the trial, a decision was rendered on the record dismissing the claim.


Based upon the findings of fact and conclusions of law placed on the record by the court, Claim No. 100856 should be and hereby is DISMISSED.


ENTER JUDGMENT ACCORDINGLY.


September 6, 2005
Binghamton, New York

HON. FERRIS D. LEBOUS
Judge of the Court of Claims