OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 4, 2000
DIVISION OF CORRECTIONS
Claimant appeared pro se.
Charles Houdyschell, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for
Claimant, an inmate at Mount Olive Correctional Complex,
brought this claim to recover the value of his Aiwa Walkman, Tx-591
radio-cassette player with headphones and an AC Adapter that were
not returned to him after these items had been appropriated,
documented for storage, and placed in storage by respondent when
claimant was in lock-up. Mount Olive Correctional Complex is a
facility of respondent in Fayette County. The Court is of the
opinion to make an award in this claim for the reasons more fully
set forth below.During the months of May and June, 2000,
claimant was sent to lock-up. At this time, the personal property
in his cell, including an Aiwa Walkman, Tx-591 radio-cassette
player with headphones and an AC Adapter, were appropriated,
documented and stored by employees of respondent. In June 2000,
claimant was released from lock-up. Claimant was given back some
of his personal property, except for the items indicated above.
His Resident's Personal Property Form made note of the fact that he
did not receive these items. The lost property was valued at
$84.20. Since being released from lock-up, claimant has made
inquiries to respondent regarding these items of personal property,
but the items have not been found or returned to him.
Respondent, in its Answer, admits that this claim is valid and
the amount of the claim is admitted. The Court has held in claims
of this nature that a bailment situation has been created and the
reasoning for that holding is stated hereinbelow.
When personal property of an inmate is recorded for the inmate
and then taken for storage purposes, this Court has previously
viewed such situations as a bailment. According to Black's Law
Dictionary, a bailment is:
"A delivery of goods or personal property, by one person (bailor)
to another (bailee), in trust for the execution of a special object
upon or in relation to such goods, beneficial either to the bailor
or bailee or both, and upon a contract, express or implied, to
perform the trust and carry out such object, and thereupon either
to redeliver the goods to the bailor or otherwise dispose of the
same in conformity with the purpose to the trust. The bailee is
responsible for exercising due care toward the goods." Id 95 (6th
Consequently, respondent, the bailee, must have satisfactory documentation for return of the property to the inmate, the bailor.
Heard vs. Division of Corrections, 21 Ct. Cl. 151 (1997). Claimant
has the burden of proof to demonstrate by a preponderance of the
evidence that there was a delivery of claimant's property to
respondent before a prima facie case is established for the failure
to return items claim accrues. Nolan vs. Division of Corrections,
19 Ct. Cl. 89 (1992).
In the instant claim, claimant has established a prima facie
case of bailment for the items which were not returned to him. The
evidence established that there was a delivery of claimant's
property to respondent. The Court has determined that respondent
failed adequately to care for claimant's personal property since it
was not returned to him.
In accordance with the findings of fact and conclusions of law
stated herein above, the Court is of the opinion to and does make
an award in this claim.
Award of $84.20.