Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    hurlco's Avatar
    hurlco is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    618

    Default Heads up boys and girls!

    I found a case called MILWICZ v. PUBLIC STORAGE, Cal: Court of Appeals, 2nd Appellate Dist., 7th Div. 2010, which is an unpublished case. This case is very interesting because it answers the question of whether we can point to our limit of liability clauses when we sell a tenants property and they sue us for conversion. In this case, Public Storage allegedly sold Milwicz property without sending out notices and/or following the California Business and Professions Code. It is interesting to note that the court found that the fact that Milwicz stored items having a value in excess of the contract does not excuse Public Storage's failure to comply with the terms of the Self Service Storage Facility Act. The court found that normally, an entity can exempt themselves from ordinary negligence, however, California Civil Code section 1668 generally invalidates contracts that attempt to exempt an entity from liability for future intentional wrongs.

    In a case called City of Santa Barbara, supra, 41 Cal.4th 747, the Supreme Court drew a distinction between "ordinary negligence" and "gross negligence" with respect to exculpatory contracts. Basically, an entity cannot contract away liability if the conduct is found to be grossly negligent. The appellate court reversed the trial courts decision against Milwicz and sent the case back to the trial court to determine whether Public Storage is liable for negligence, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and conversion.

    I thought that this unpublished case might be interesting since so many of you ask "How can they sue for so much money when our contract says their property is only worth $5,000?" Once again, this is a California case, however, it reinforces just how careful we must all be when auctioning a tenants space.
    "Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from being offended. The Constitution does not protect your feelings..."

  2. #2
    Jughead is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    Very interesting. I know that the limit of liability language is useless in cases where we sell a tenants property. Is this case a recent case? It looks like a 2010 case.

  3. #3
    Lisa T's Avatar
    Lisa T is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Happy to be in Myrtle Beach, SC!!!
    Posts
    2,850

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    How much money did they sue for?

  4. #4
    hurlco's Avatar
    hurlco is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa T View Post
    How much money did they sue for?
    Milwicz is alleging damages of $250,000. Of course, we all know that this is a joke. Milwicz stored heirlooms, furniture, holiday decorations, etc. Mr. MIlwicz filed the suit and alleged that his wife, Mrs. Milwicz and Kimberly, his daughter were foreseeable victims of Public Storage's conduct, that Public Storage acted with gross negligence in selling or disposing of the Milwiczes' property. This was very similar to Cook v. Public Storage.

    Public Storage lawyers responded by arguing that any harm to Mrs. Milwicz or Kimberly was not foreseeable based upon the contract, which was solely between Mr. Milwicz and Public Storage, and thererfore, the plaintiffs' claims were subject to waiver. The court refused to allow Mrs. Milwicz and his daughter standing.

    The fact pattern was typical for self storage and could have happened to any of us.
    "Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from being offended. The Constitution does not protect your feelings..."

  5. #5
    MisterJim444 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Winchester, Virginia
    Posts
    1,341

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    hurlco:

    The fact that the Court refused to allow Mrs. Milwicz and his daughter standing - should reinforce for everyone having just one name and signature on a rental agreement. Thanks for drawing everyone's attention to this case.

    MisterJim444
    Learning Never Ends, But Will Time?

  6. #6
    Crystle408 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sunny San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    I hope he has the pictures of the items that were stored as well as pictures of them being in the unit, with the Unit # and proof of the facility. I bet he never even stored that stuff there.

  7. #7
    MamaDuke's Avatar
    MamaDuke is offline Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sunny Southern California
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    I would love to be able to go through the homes of the people that sue storage over stuff stolen or sold.

    I bet 99 times out of 100, we would find everything in their list of "stored items" still sitting happily in their homes!
    MamaDuke

    The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.

  8. #8
    hurlco's Avatar
    hurlco is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Heads up boys and girls!

    I think this case, though unpublished and therefore, not citable, demonstrates the folly by many state self storage associations of attempting to limit our liability in conversion claims to the stated, unrealistic, limitations of liability values in our contracts. While these may be upheld in theft claims, I foretell that they will not be upheld in tort litigation wherein the plaintiffs allege gross negligence, breach of contract, conversion, etc.
    "Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from being offended. The Constitution does not protect your feelings..."

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •