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$________ AWARD Contract – Bailment action – Breach of oral contract – Boating equipment missing from storage facility – Loss of property.

Broward County, FL

The plaintiff alleged that he returned to Broward County from his home in Colorado to find that all the items in the storage unit he rented from the defendant marina were gone. The plaintiff asserted a bailment action against both the marina operator and the owner of the property. He also claimed breach of an oral contract against the marina operator. The defendants denied any knowledge of the plaintiff’s alleged rental of a storage unit. The defense also argued that the plaintiff could not establish what was in the unit or the value of the items at the time the defendants took over the business.

Evidence showed that the plaintiff and his partner owned a yacht which burned at the dock at the marina. The plaintiff claimed that he also rented a storage unit from the defendant marina and placed certain items in the unit, including A VHF radio, life vests, ropes, snorkeling gear, galley dishes, storm gear, fishing equipment, EPIRB, a life raft, tools and other items, which were not included in a sale of the yacht after it burned. The plaintiff testified regarding his opinion as to the value of the items in question, that they had been locked in the storage unit, and that he had the key to the unit.

The defendant acquired ownership of the marina following a foreclosure. The plaintiff testified that, after the defendant took over the business, he arranged for payment on the storage unit. However, when the plaintiff later visited Florida from Colorado, he testified that he went to look at his storage unit and was told by the defendant’s employees that they had no knowledge of what had become of the contents of the storage unit. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s boat was bought as salvage by a man from Turkey and that some of the items went with the boat, including the boarding steps. The defense contended that the plaintiff could not establish what was in the unit at the time that the defendants took over the business and could not show the value of the alleged items.The case was tried as a bench trial with an award to the plaintiff in the amount of $________ plus interest and costs.

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