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Golphin v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Claims of Ohio

November 4, 2015

TYRONE GOLPHIN Plaintiff
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

          Sent to S.C. reporter 2/14/17

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         {¶1} Plaintiff, Tyrone Golphin, an inmate, filed a complaint against defendant, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC"), asserting on March 13, 2015, he was transferred from defendant's Richland Correctional Institution ("RICI") to defendant's Marion Correctional Institution ("MCI"). Plaintiff related upon his arrival at MCI he noticed his box had been opened so he requested an inventory of his property, which was refused. Accordingly, he refused to sign the pack-up slip. Plaintiff contended he contacted both institutions about the loss of his property to no avail.

         {¶2} Plaintiff asserted the following property and their values were lost in the transfer: Relic Watch, $250.00; wedding band, $700.00; two pairs of pajamas, $44.00; two bowls, $9.94; and a towel, $4.50. Plaintiff's damages total $1, 008.44. Plaintiff was not required to submit the $25.00 filing fee.

         {¶3} Plaintiff submitted a copy of an Inmate Property Record dated March 13, 2015, and prepared at RICI prior to his transfer. The Property Record revealed the possession of a watch, wedding band, two pairs of pajamas, and two bowls but no towel.

         {¶4} Plaintiff provided certificates of ownership for a wedding band and Relic watch. On the certificate of ownership for the watch it indicated that the watch was used when the certificate was issued on July 17, 2008.

         {¶5} Plaintiff submitted a Disposition of Grievance dated June 17, 2015. In the Grievance, defendant stated that the pack-up officer, "Sgt. Merrill did not follow correct procedure in inventorying your property." However, although defendant admitted the loss of plaintiffs property defendant asserted the loss occurred at RICI not MCI and accordingly no action was taken.

         {¶6} Defendant filed an investigation report, acknowledging that plaintiffs watch and wedding band were lost during the transfer of his property from RICI to MCI. However, defendant contends 61-PRP-01 supports the valuation of plaintiffs wedding band at $100.00. Although, defendant admits the loss of plaintiffs watch, defendant does not place a value on his watch.

         {¶7} Defendant denied responsibility for the loss of plaintiffs two pairs of pajamas and two bowls since he failed to provide proof of ownership. Finally, defendant contends plaintiff should not be reimbursed for the loss of his personal towel since the towel does not appear on the Inmate Property Record of March 13, 2015, and plaintiff signed the following statement prior to his transfer to MCI; "I certify that the above listed items are complete and accurate inventory of all my personal property."

         {¶8} Plaintiff filed a response to defendant's investigation report. Plaintiff asserted the evidence submitted revealed he was in possession of the property he asserted was missing on his departure from RICI, as evidenced by the DRC2055. Second, plaintiff questions the value of a wedding band at $100.00. Third, plaintiff contends the failure to list his personal towel on the DRC2055 is the fault of defendant's agents, not his. Plaintiff contended it is reasonable that he possessed a towel. Finally, plaintiff asserted this court should accept the values he placed on the loss of his property.

         CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         {¶9} In order to prevail, in a claim of negligence, plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant owed him a duty, that it breached that duty, and that defendant's breach proximately caused his injuries. Armstrong v. Best Buy Company, Inc., 99 Ohio St.3d 79, 2003-Ohio-2573, 788 N.E.2d 1088, ¶ 8 citing Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc., 15 Ohio St.3d 75, 77, 472 N.E.2d 707 (1984).

         {¶10} "Whether a duty is breached and whether the breach proximately caused an injury are normally questions of fact, to be decided . . . by the court . . ." Pacher v. Invisible Fence of Dayton, 154 Ohio App.3d 744, 2003-Ohio-5333, 798 N.E.2d 1121, ¶ 41 (2nd Dist.), citing Miller v. Paulson, 97 Ohio App.3d 217, 221, 646 N.E.2d 521 (10th Dist. 1994); Mussivand v. David, 45 Ohio St.3d 314, 318, 544 N.E.2d 265 (1989).

         {¶11} Plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he suffered a loss and that this loss was proximately caused by defendant's ...


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