No. 2002-10178-AD.Court of Claims of Ohio.
Decided February 26, 2003.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

Gregory C. Trout, Chief Counsel Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, for defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION FINDINGS OF FACT {¶ 1} 1) Plaintiff, Shawn M. Allen, an inmate at defendant, Southeastern Correctional Institution, stated his locker box was broken into on August 23, 2002, and several items of personal property were stolen.

{¶ 2} 2) Defendant conducted a prompt search after being informed of the theft. Apparently some of plaintiff’s property was recovered.

{¶ 3} 3) Plaintiff has filed this complaint seeking to recover $283.43, the estimated value of his personal property, which he asserts was stolen as a direct result of defendant’s negligence in failing to provide adequate protection. Plaintiff submitted the filing fee with the complaint.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW {¶ 4} 1) The mere fact a theft occurred is insufficient to show defendant’s negligence, Williams v. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility
(1985), 83-07091-AD; Custom v. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility
(1985), 84-02425. Plaintiff must show defendant breached a duty of ordinary or reasonable care. Williams, supra.

{¶ 5} 2) Defendant is not responsible for actions of other inmates unless an agency relationship is shown or it is shown that defendant was negligent. Walker v. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (1978), 78-0217-AD.

{¶ 6} 3) The fact defendant supplied plaintiff with a locker box and access to a lock to secure valuables constitutes prima facie evidence of defendant discharging its duty of reasonable care. Watson v. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (1987), 86-02635.

{¶ 7} 4) This court in Mullett v. Department of Correction
(1976), 76-0292-AD, held that defendant does not have the liability of an insurer (i.e., is not liable without fault) with respect to inmate property, but that it does have the duty to make “reasonable attempts to protect, or recover” such property.

{¶ 8} 5) Plaintiff has failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, he suffered any loss as a result of a negligent act or omission on the part of defendant. Consequently, plaintiff’s case is denied Fitzgerald v. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (1998), 97-10146-AD.

{¶ 9} Having considered all the evidence in the claim file and adopting the memorandum decision concurrently herewith;


{¶ 11} 1) Plaintiff’s claim is DENIED and judgment is rendered in favor of defendant;

{¶ 12} 2) The court shall absorb the court costs in this case in excess of the filing fee.


Deputy Clerk