IN THE LEGISLATIVE CLAIMS COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
WEST VIRGINIA DIVISION OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION
Claimant appeared pro se.
Briana J. Marino, Assistant Attorney General for the Respondent.
The Claimant filed this claim to recover for the value of certain personal property that he alleges was stolen, lost or destroyed while under the care of the Respondent.
The Claimant and the Respondent, through its counsel, appeared for a hearing before the Legislative Claims Commission on May 2, 2019.
The Claimant testified that he was incarcerated at Huttonsville Correctional Center on June 12, 2018 when the facility conducted a shake down in his pod. He further testified that his Reebok tennis shoes and Skullcandy earbuds were missing following the shake down. He did not receive a property seizure form for these items. The Claimant placed a value of approximately $100.00 on the lost items.
The Respondent admitted the validity of the claim at the hearing as to liability only. The Respondent agreed to stipulate to the Claimant’s claim if he could provide receipts to verify the value of the lost tennis shoes and earbuds.
The Legislative Claims Commission requested that the Claimant submit to the Claims Commission any and all invoices and receipts related to the lost items within thirty days of the hearing. The Claimant complied and submitted a receipt that indicated that he had paid a total of $108.17 for the replacement Reebok tennis shoes and the Skullcandy earbuds.
The Legislative Claims Commission is aware that the Respondent does not have a fiscal method available to it for paying claims of this nature. As such, the claim has been submitted to this Commission for determination.
In West Virginia, when a bailment situation is created, a duty or “obligation to exercise reasonable and ordinary care for the safety of the property so delivered” is imposed upon the bailee. Barnette v. Casey, 124 W. Va. 143, 19 S.E.2d 621 (1942). This Commission has previously held that a bailment situation exists when the Respondent records the personal property of an inmate and takes it for storage purposes, and then has no satisfactory explanation for not returning it. Page v. Division of Corrections, 23 Ct. Cl.238 (2000); Heard v. Division of Corrections, 21 Ct. Cl. 146 (1997).
Upon consideration of the evidence filed in this claim and the testimony given at the hearing, the Commission finds that a bailment existed between the Claimant and the Respondent. The Respondent had a duty to exercise reasonable and ordinary care with respect to the Claimant’s property but failed to do so on the date of the incident.
Accordingly, this Commission is of the opinion to make an award to the Claimant herein in the amount of $108.17.
Award of $108.17.