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Experience dealing with or suing a private storage business ???

Does anyone here have any? More specifically,has anyone e cacrimdefense05/18/17
I imagine they would put in their contracts that they're not 3lol05/18/17
This. Cannot imagine the storage business assumed responsibi mrtor05/18/17
There's a disclaimer in the agreement. I guarantee it. isthisit05/18/17
This sillydood05/18/17
All of THIS^ lawyer205/18/17
Not to murky the waters, but a disclaimer like that doesn't supesnation05/18/17
Fact intensive and we have no facts. If the doors were all u vohod05/18/17
Outdoor storage unit, not indoor and climate controlled. One cacrimdefense05/18/17
Based on those facts, I would decline the case. ruralattorney05/18/17
I have more self-storage experience than your average lawyer ginganinja05/18/17
cacrimdefense (May 18, 2017 - 2:57 am)

Does anyone here have any?

More specifically,has anyone ever litigated (for yourself or on behalf of another) a matter where the private storage business had suffered a break-in and items from your/your client's unit were stolen?

If so, I'd be curious to hear the story about what happened.

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3lol (May 18, 2017 - 8:59 am)

I imagine they would put in their contracts that they're not responsible for any theft or loss. Not the case?

Otherwise, breach of contract? You said you'd safeguard my stuff but you didn't.

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mrtor (May 18, 2017 - 2:48 pm)

This. Cannot imagine the storage business assumed responsibility for the criminal acts of another. Look for a disclaimer.

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isthisit (May 18, 2017 - 2:52 pm)

There's a disclaimer in the agreement. I guarantee it.

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sillydood (May 18, 2017 - 3:11 pm)

This

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lawyer2 (May 18, 2017 - 3:47 pm)

All of THIS^

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supesnation (May 18, 2017 - 4:13 pm)

Not to murky the waters, but a disclaimer like that doesn't necessarily disclaim anything. You would really need to know more.

I'd start by looking at your state's position on adhesion contracts -- if this is a controlled access storage facility, or better yet, a climate controlled indoor facility, in some states a court may strike through that type of language as unreasonable.

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vohod (May 18, 2017 - 4:38 pm)

Fact intensive and we have no facts. If the doors were all unlocked, no guards, and the locks sucked you are right. If a pickup smashed through the gates that is another story.

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cacrimdefense (May 18, 2017 - 5:00 pm)

Outdoor storage unit, not indoor and climate controlled. One of a couple dozen such units. Locked w/ a padlock. Video cameras monitor the outdoor premises (where these storage units are located along w/ a large adjacent area containing parked/mothballed RV's, campers and other stowed vehicles). The entire facility (several acres in a semi-industrial neighborhood) is surrounded by a perimeter of chain link fence, about 7 feet high.

In the evening, the location is illuminated and occupied by an elderly gentleman who has a place to sleep at the facility. He does not "patrol" or "do rounds" in the evening, however, he is supposed to take an occasional look at the security monitors connected to the cameras covering the premises. The cameras installed, however, do not show/cover the storage unit that was broken into. The nearest camera displays an area about 15 feet away from the storage unit in question.

The unit in question happened to be closest to where one or more individuals cut through the fence at night, from an adjacent property. It was one of two that had the locks opened/broken, and were subsequently ransacked.

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ruralattorney (May 18, 2017 - 6:40 pm)

Based on those facts, I would decline the case.

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ginganinja (May 18, 2017 - 6:43 pm)

I have more self-storage experience than your average lawyer, but I have none dealing with theft. I've provided a few thoughts though:

(1) I once successfully sued a self-storage facility for the negligent auction of my client's belongings. By "successfully" I mean they paid top dollar for a bunch of used crap that my client obviously didn't want. What your case probably has in common with mine is proving your damages. I don't know your jurisdiction, but most states will make you prove the fair market value of the belongings in the unit. Since it's a self-storage case, that usually means finding the fair market value of a bunch of used crap. Evidentiary hurdles may differ from state to state. In my state, a lay witness could testify as to the fair market value of household items and other non-technical stuff if they have a reasonable basis for their opinion. For us, and likely for you, that means you need to put your client to work. We had our client make a spreadsheet listing every item in her unit in one column, each item's fair market value in another column, and a reference for her value in a third column. The third column was usually a website selling comparable used belongings. This was tedious work, but I think it scared the crap out of the defendant. They paid a ridiculous settlement under the circumstances.


(2) A close relative of mine owns a storage unit. By helping him tighten up his own contracts, I've learned most states have laws regarding self-storage contracts, as well as a default property arrangement in the event there is no written contract. Make sure your state doesn't include any negligence disclaimer in theirs, or that your state doesn't identify the relationship as a type that would place no duty upon the self storage owner to safeguard the property.

(3) Can you bring a negligent security case for property damage? I've never researched the issue. Given that it's really the third party criminal's fault, my gut tells me some states will reject these claims in circumstances not involving personal injury.

(4) Even if you can bring the negligent security claim, it seems like the security wasn't that bad. Illuminated property, fence, lock on the door, security cameras... what more can you ask for? Security cameras aren't generally there to stop a crime, they are there to catch the criminal later. Personally I'd dump the case if you're basing on negligence relating to the security cameras.

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