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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Property in storage damaged -- wooden panels of Baldwin

Customer Question

Property in storage damaged -- wooden panels of Baldwin Acrosonic Spinet piano removed from piano by unknown agent. Storage facility insurance denied liability for claim. How long do I have to file a claim in civil court and what sort of claim should be filed? Additional property as yet not viewed or examined may reveal further damage or theft of items.
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in?
Customer: Village of Glenview, Illinois -- I am residing in Albany, New York.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: As soon as I discovered the damage on July 22, 2016, I reported it to the facility in question. They had a district manager call me 4 days later who said their insurance would investigate. Instead, the insurer sent me claim forms for vandalism, and subsequently denied vandalism because the police officer who came over and took a report classified it as civil. The insurer says they do not cover damage caused by employees of the facility.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not at the moment.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

While a company would not be liable for third party actions on its premises, in this case, it may be. If the storage company did not use the standard of the industry to safeguard the items, then they can be sued for negligence and breach of contract.

Generally, the elements of a cause of action sounding in negligence are: (1) the existence of a duty on the defendant's part as to the plaintiff; (2) a breach of this duty; and (3) an injury to the plaintiff as a result thereof (see Akins v Glens Falls City School Dist., 53 NY2d 325, 333 [1981]; Ingrassia v Lividikos, 54 AD3d 721, 724 [2008]; Alvino v Lin, 300 AD2d 421 [2002]).

Under New York law, an action for breach of contract requires proof of (1) a contract; (2) performance of the contract by one party; (3) breach by the other party; and (4) damages. Rexnord Holdings, Inc. v. Bidermann, 21 F.3d 522, 525 (2d Cir. 1994) (applying New York law).

The statute of limitations to file such a suit is 6 years (going of breach of contract) per N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 213(2). However, one wants to file any suit as soon as possible, and within 3 years if possible (negligence statute of limitations may be subjective and this is the first cut off point for it).

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!