Bailment
When Does Limited Liability Not Hold?
  • Disclosure of Value
    • when the innkeeper agrees in writing to assume liability for a greater $ amount
  • Equitable Estoppel
    • a legal principle that precludes a person from claiming a right or benefit because that person made a false representation to another who relied on that information to his or her detriment
  • When the Hotel is Negligent
    • comparative negligence can apply where appropriate
    • in Nevada, innkeepers are protected by the limiting statutes even if they are grossly negligent
Liability During Check-in and Check-out
  • Guest Status
    • most state limiting statutes apply only to "guests"
  • Liability After Check-out
    • a patron maintains the status of a "guest" for a reasonable amount of time after check-out
Bailment
  • Bailment  ==>  a transfer of possession of personal property from one person to another with the understanding that the property will be returned
  • Bailor  ==>  person giving possession of the property
  • Bailee  ==>  person receiving possession of the property
  • 4 Essential Elements of a Bailment
    • personal property  --  moveable, tangible objects
    • delivery of possession
    • acceptance of possession by the bailee
    • bailment agreement  --  expressed or implied
  • Affect of Bailment on Liability
    • no bailment implies no liability
    • if bailment exists the bailee is not automatically liable
      • liability depends on whether or not the bailee exercised reasonable care
      • the amount of care is determined by the type of bailment
  • 3 Types of Bailments
    • Sole Benefit of the Bailor
      • need to exercise only a slight degree of care
    • Sole Benefit of the Bailee
      • need to exercise a very high degree of care
    • Mutual-Benefit Bailment
      • also called a bailment for hire
      • need to exercise ordinary care
      • bailor must warn bailee of any defects in the property  ==>  strict liability
  • Proof in Bailment Cases
    • bailor often has difficulty in proving that the bailee failed to exercise the required amount of care
    • as a result, bailor only needs to prove 3 things...
      • delivery of the property
      • acceptance of the property by the bailee
      • failure to return property or returned property damaged
    • these 3 facts establish a prima facie case
      • i.e., a case sufficient to warrant a judgment for the plaintiff if the defendant does not contradict it with other evidence
  • What about items inside of the bailed property?
    • no liability unless the bailee is informed of the item's existence
    • informed if  ==>  bailor tells bailee about the item or if the item is in plain view
  • Rules Particular for Bailment of Cars
    • must leave keys for bailment to exist
    • limiting statutes do not apply to cars
    • disclaimers of liability on signs and receipts are not effective for limiting liability for loss or damage
Liability in Checkrooms
  • the general basis for liability is bailment
  • constructive bailment  ==>  a bailment created by law; must exercise reasonable care
  • bailment exists when the bailor gives proof of receipt of the property
  • many states limit liability in checkrooms  --  (e.g., in NY limit is $200)
  • if checkroom is unattended then usually no bailment thus no liability


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this page is maintained by Reed Fisher
last updated January 15, 2011