Assume I store some of my furniture at a person's house and write up a short contract that says:
__name____ owns the following items: Sofa + description and picture, bed + description and picture. __name___is allowing __name____ to store the furniture at his home from May 10-August 20th for $__ and then will allow the owner to pick the furniture up on August 20th. Both parties sign the contract.
If the person who agreed to store my furniture steals or sells the furniture or refuses to allow me to take the furniture back, do I have legal standing to require that they pay me for the furniture?
2 Answers from Attorneys
If the contract was signed by both parties, yes you have standing. My answer assumes that either the furniture was sold before the 290th or you can prove you tried to pick it up and they refused and then sold the items.
Even if you did not have a contract, as long as the other person knew the items are yours they have an obligation to take reasonable care of it for a period of time under a bailment theory. So yes, you can sue to recover the items or for their value if they have be disposed of in some manner. If the items are gone and you try to recover the value - you may run into a problem proving the value of the items. By the way - next time you go drafting a contract, don't forget to put in a clause that states in the event of breach of contract the part found to have breached the contract will have to pay the cost of litigation. As is, you may end up spending more than the items are worth - a no win scenario for you.
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