Torts: Personal Property: Bailment

Bailment – when an owner of a piece of personal property parts with a particular purpose. (I lend you my pen; park car in garage; put my coat in a coat check)
  • You can sometimes have items that are contained within another item.
    • EX: I park my car in a garage. Is their bailment for the contents of my trunk? Yes, so long as they are typical of what will be in the car.
  • Three situations to know
    • Safe deposit boxes – the only case where a bailment is created even though the recipient item even though they have no idea what’s in there. Bank is a bailee even if they have no idea what’s in there.
    • Parking lot where you leave your keys
    • Park and lock: you keep the keys --NOT a bailment.
  • A bailee has duty of care to see to it that no harm comes to a bailed item. Failure to exercise that duty will lead to liability.
  • 2 strict bailee liability situations:
    • Where bailee uses item in ways that are outside the scope of the bailment.
    • If bailee mis-delivers the item at the end of the bailment. But there is a defense if the person who has them has documents suggesting their entitled to it.
  • Bailees cannot entirely contract away all liability. They can limit their liability, but can’t exculpate their liability.