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  1. #1
    Tom Litton is offline Senior Member
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    Default Has your facility ever been sued?

    It is something we all fear and work very hard to prevent, yet storage facilities are sued every year. I have testified in many self storage lawsuits and I always learn valuable lessons from every case. So my question is:

    Has your facility ever been sued?

    What was the fact pattern or the allegation of the suit (briefly)?

    What did you learn from the case?

    What was the disposition of the case? (Settled, dismissed or jury trial/judgment)
    Last edited by Tom Litton; 18th May 2010 at 12:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Gina6k's Avatar
    Gina6k is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Nope, never been sued. But then again I have the most fantastic self-storage attorney and owners that encourage education! If you know what you're dealing with, and how to avoid problems, coupled with communication skills and treating people with respect you can avoid most situations that could result in a lawsuit. Aren't most lawsuits fraught with emotion? Recognize, empathize and work together is a much better tact to take than urinating into the wind and getting dirty.
    Gina 6k
    CochraneStorage dot com
    Morgan Hill, California
    twitter.com/CochraneStorage

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
    I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

  3. #3
    Tom Litton is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Good point Gina, and yes, lawsuits are fraught with emotion. I know from being involved and standing on the sidelines that many lawsuits stem from uncaring comments, poor treatment and too much emotion. For example, a recent, rather large settlement was given to a plaintiff who sued Public Storage. If you read the decision, you can tell that the tenant was motivated in large part to a statement made when the tenant asked "What should I do, you sold my stuff?" and the PS employee retorted "Call your lawyer!"

    If you educate yourself, seek legal counsel when unclear on what to do and treat ALL customers with respect, even those low life, scum sucking deadbeats, (kidding) you are much less likely to get sued.

    That being said, I must say that I have seen very nice, totally innocent and well versed managers/owners get sued over facility/tenant disputes. However, in almost every case, there was some little sticking point that made the case somewhat questionable.

    So my question is:

    Has your facility ever been sued?

    What was the fact pattern or the allegation of the suit (briefly)?

    What did you learn from the case?

    What was the disposition of the case? (Settled, dismissed or jury trial/judgment)

  4. #4
    ams's Avatar
    ams
    ams is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    We have been taken to Small Claims court twice. Once for wrongful sale and once for damage to merchandise that was stored. I ended up going as an agent for the owner .
    I am not sure if it was just an attempt to make some money by the parties.

    Both cases were dismissed, and the only case I really had to say anything was the wrongfull sale case, I did need to explain to the person overseeing the case about the California Storage Lien law and the time between notices and the expiration dates on the notices and our auction procedures. The person overseeing the case did ask what the unit sold for and when I told him, he told the person who brought the suit, "I guess the others had a different value for the goods stored"


    The case for the damages, a person who had only rented a unit for a few months sued for mold damage. All I did was give a copy of the rental agreement to the judge who took our case. The person was suing was saying we were at fault because of the mold, I was going to show that the unit was not leaking, and because of the time the stuff was stored, it probably had to be damaged or stored wet. I never had to say a word. The judge looked over the agreement and asked the person what part of the conditions where it states that they supply their own insurance and can not bring any claim to the company didn't he get? The judged asked if I held a gun to his head and made him sign the contract. When the judge was done with the questioning, he asked if I had anything to add, I knew there was nothing I could say that would help, so I just said "no sir" and left it at that. I did find out later that the goods were stored damaged and the person was trying to shift blame from himself to us to prevent a family fued.

    What did I learn?
    1. my owner really trusted me with to handle 2 $5000 lawsuits and what it took to be a small claims court agent for the owner.
    2. being able to explain the lien procedures and the importance of each step and why we do things the way it is laid out in the B&P Code.
    3. Knowing when to keep my mouth shut.
    4. never belittling or disrepecting those who brought the case even though it wasn't right. After each one, I shook their hand and told them make sure to tell me how to get them the money if they won the case.


    I really don't think I could have prevented either case as their intentions were not really anything I could prevent. Both were trying to make some money, ($25 to make $5000 could be good if it works)

    Ron

    Stockton's Advanced Mini Storage - Your Stockton Self Storage Solution 209-466-4444 or 209-477-5555

  5. #5
    JamestownStorage#8's Avatar
    JamestownStorage#8 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Very professional, Ron. You were able to not take it personally, which is hard sometimes. It feels good when owner's give you responsibility and it goes well!
    They must realize the asset they have in you!

    Bravo!

    Pat
    High Point, NC

  6. #6
    ams's Avatar
    ams
    ams is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamestownStorage#8 View Post
    Very professional, Ron. You were able to not take it personally, which is hard sometimes. It feels good when owner's give you responsibility and it goes well!
    They must realize the asset they have in you!

    Bravo!

    Pat
    High Point, NC
    Thanks, it did feel great. He was a really great owner and put a lot of trust in me. He let me handle the city zoning issues and pretty much anything else that popped up. It has been really hard since he passed away in December, I am hoping his family gets the estate cleared up and I can do the same for them.

    Ron

  7. #7
    ams's Avatar
    ams
    ams is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Here is that thread

    --
    Ron

  8. #8
    Bob McCarthy is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Re: Has your facility ever been sued?

    Nope, never been sued. We all should make sure we understand the lien sale laws of our particular state. I use the Calif. lien sale manuals I have received at the T.L. seminars and follow the directions to the letter.

 

 
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