Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Bailments 


  A bailment is a simple transaction in which one party, the bailor, transfers the possession of a good or goods to another party, the bailee.  You enter into a bailment arrangement whenever a valet parks your car or you take your clothes to the dry-cleaner or tailor.  In these situations, you turn over possession of something that you own to another person or company without surrendering your ownership interest in the property you’ve turned over.

   In the event that the bailee fails to return the goods at the end of the bailment, the bailor can sue for breach of the bailment agreement.  When a bailment agreement exists, the bailee assumes the duty of exercising reasonable care and protecting the bailed property. The bailee has a duty to use reasonable care to protect the property.  That means they must use the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise towards similar property.

  If the bailee has a justified excuse for failing to return the property at the end of the bailment, the bailor must establish that bailee failed to use reasonable care to protect the property.  The bailee for instance may not be liable if someone broke into their home or business and stole the property.  On the other hand, if the property was mislaid in a public place by the bailee, liability would likely attach.

  If a bailment is gratuitous, meaning that the bailee is not paid a fee, the bailee is liable only for its wrongful conduct.  This might occur, for instance if you lose a piece of jewlery in a store, an employee or customer turns it in and the store holds onto it until it is claimed. In this situation, the store owner or bailee must use ordinary care to return it to the owner.

  If the bailment is for the mutual benefit of the parties, then the plaintiff can establish a prima facie case by showing merely that the bailed property was not returned.  An example of a mutual benefit bailment would be a car rental.  The rental company (bailor) benefits in that they receive a fee.  The customer (bailee) benefits in that they have use and possession of the rental car.

  If the bailee has a justified excuse for not returning the property (it was stolen!), the bailor must show that the bailee failed to exercise reasonable care in protecting the property. 

  A bailment is created in a parking garage where the vehicle owner surrenders their keys at the garage.  No bailment is created where the owner parks his own car and retains the keys.  In the absence of a bailment agreement, other forms of liability may be present.

 

  The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. can assist you if you are involved in a bailment dispute or any civil litigation matter.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice.  Call today for your no-obligation consultation.  

 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

  


Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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