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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    6

    Default Valet Parking Company's Liability For Theft of Property

    I am a valet parking company owner and operate valet parking for restaurants, hotels, etc. A customer valet parked with us, and was charged a $6.00 fee for the service. When our attendant went to retreive the vehicle, the car had a broken back window and personal items were stolen. Customer is claiming $4,000 in damages from break-in and theft of personal items.

    The customer was given our parking stub clearly states our contractual limits of liability for theft or loss of use ($250). A copy of the contract is conspicuously posted at the valet station on a sign with large print. I think these postings conform to the section regarding bailments in the Ca Civil Code.

    Additionally, we exercised reasonable care when taking custody of the customer car/keys including 1) locking car 2) parking car in well lit and reasonably safe parking lot 3)locking keys in a lockbox at the valet podium. What else are we supposed to do, post a security guard in front of the car??

    Does this claimant have a case against us? Are there any other codes or case law pertaining to this type of situation which might be of interest to either party? Any help someone can provide would be most helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,848

    Default Claim Against Valet Service

    Is the valet service insured? If so, consider notifying the insurance company of the potential claim, and seeing if they will handle the legal end.

    You would seem to have some good defenses, assuming that there aren't additional facts - you believe your notice of the limitation of liability was appropriate under law, none of the valet service employees engaged in wrongful conduct, the location in which the car was parked was safe and appropriate, and you're looking at the independent criminal act of an unknown person as the actual cause of the loss. But that doesn't mean that the person won't try to make a claim, perhaps in small claims court.

    If you have never had your limitation of liability language reviewed by a California attorney, this would be as good a time as any to do so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks. We have a $5,000 insurance deductible so insurance would not apply in this case. Thanks for the insights.

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