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Alleged creation of bailment - Contents of home removed during restoration work - Loss of contents of home.

Philadelphia County

The plaintiff asserted a bailment claim against the defendant, a restoration company which was retained to restore the plaintiff’s home after flood damage. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant removed the contents of his home during the restoration work and then lost them. The defendant argued that the items in question were moved into a storage unit and sold because the plaintiff failed to pay the storage fee.

The plaintiff’s home sustained substantial flood damage and he retained the defendant for restoration work. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant removed the home contents that were not damaged while the work was being performed, creating a bailment. The plaintiff testified that he went to a storage unit where the contents were held and saw that many of his possessions had been damaged. The plaintiff claimed that the contents of his home were then removed from storage and he is unaware of their current location. The plaintiff sought approximately $________ in damages for an extensive list of items, including knives, artwork, stereo equipment, fireplace items and food.

The defendant argued that it took possession of the undamaged contents of the plaintiff’s home for short term storage. After six months, with the plaintiff’s approval, the defendant showed that it rented a storage facility and gave the plaintiff the key. Almost two years later, the plaintiff’s possessions were sold because he failed to pay the storage fee, according to the defendant’s claims.

The case was tried as a bench trial with a verdict for the defendant. The case was appealed by the plaintiff from an arbitration award in favor of the defendant.

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