Bailment Versus Lease Stolen Car

Guests sued a Denver hotel after their cars were stolen from the valet lot—and they were still charged for valet parking. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Four guests at a Denver hotel left their cars with the valet, only to find out their cars had been stolen off the lot.  They later learned their keys were kept in an unlocked box in the lobby, and that the thief went back to the box repeatedly to steal one set of  keys after the next.

To add insult to injury, the hotel still charged them for valet parking.  They’ve sued the hotel for negligence, (since there’s no actual crime of “how dare you?”) but can you sue a parking lot if the ticket says they’re not responsible?  Legally, it depends.

If you parked your own car and kept your keys the lot wouldn’t be held responsible, since you never relinquished control of the vehicle. If, however, you hand them your keys and the car is in their control, then they owe you a duty of care, which, if they don’t uphold by saying to a stranger something like: hey, where are you going with all those keys? They can certainly be held liable. 

From The Judge Group, I’m Amy E. Feldman for KYW News Radio.

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