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New York Prisoner Awarded $316.93 for Lost Property

A New York Court of Claims awarded a prisoner $316.63 for the loss of his property by prison officials. Acting pro se in the bailment claim, prisoner James Towner claimed that when his property was received from Marcy Correctional Facility at Auburn Correctional Facility after his March 3, 2005 transfer, several items were missing.

Prior to his transfer, Towner requested his property, packed in six draft bags, be insured and shipped by mail. To cover the cost of $43.63, Towner completed a “Disbursement or Refund Request” that stated “mail out six bags, wants property insured.”

His mailing agreement was not fulfilled. The property was packed in four boxes, and missing were a pair of brown boots, a pair of black boots, a green storage bin, and four or five years of legal work, court documents, and transcripts.

The court found the defendant failed in its duty to return the property Towner delivered to it. It awarded fair market value of the property, applying a reasonable rate to depreciation. Thus, it awarded Towner $43.00 for the brown boots, $20.00 for the black boots, and $10.00 for the storage bin. Absent testimony on the particular legal items lost, the Court awarded $200.00 plus the cost of the disbursement by mail all of the property. The court entered judgment with an award of interest from the date of the loss. See: Towner v. New York, New York Court of Claims, Syracuse, #2010-009-101, claim no. 111210.

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Related legal case

Towner v. New York