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
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
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
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.