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71 Wash.App. 684Court of Appeals of Washington,Division 2.John A. EIFLER, Jr., Appellant,v.SHURGARD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, d/b/a Shurgard Self Storage, Respondent.No. 14363-1-II.Nov. 22, 1993.Tenant brought action against self-storage company for breach of contract, negligence, and Consumer Protection Act violations arising from loss of automobile apparently stolen from self-storage lot. The Superior Court, Kitsap County,William J. Kamps, J., dismissed, and tenant appealed. The Court of Appeals,Morgan, J., held that: (1) bailment for mutual benefit was created; (2) self-storage company was not precluded from limitingits liability for ordinary negligence; (3) Consumer Protection Act claim was for jury; and (4) self-storage operation was not entitled to award of attorney fees and costs.Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.West Headnotes (17)Collapse West HeadnotesChange View1AutomobilesStorage of Vehicles; Parking FacilitiesBailment was created when tenant owner left his automobile and keys with resident managers of self-storage operation; by leaving car keys, tenant impliedly authorized managers to move car around premises.2BailmentDelivery and AcceptanceThere can be no bailment without change of possession and assumption for acceptance of possession by person claimed to be bailee.1Case that cites this headnote3AutomobilesStorage of Vehicles; Parking FacilitiesBailment created when tenant left automobile and keys with resident managers of self-storage operation was bailment for mutual benefit, rather than professional bailment; tenant wanted to obtain space in which to store his car and self-storage company wanted to lease space and thereby obtain compensation, but self-storage company did not acquire right to possess property stored on premises, as it could not generally move property from one storage locker to another or from one part of premises to another.4ContractsExemption from LiabilityGenerally, party to contract can limit liability for damages resulting from negligence.1Case that cites this headnote5BailmentBailments for Mutual Benefit“Bailment for mutual benefit” arises when both parties to contract receive benefit flowing from bailment.2Cases that cite this headnote6BailmentNature and Elements in General“Professional bailee” is one whose principal business is to act as bailee and who deals with public on uniform rather than individual basis.7BailmentBailments for Mutual BenefitWhen bailment for mutual benefit is also professional bailment, public policy will not permit bailee to limit his or her liability for negligence.8BailmentCare and Use of Property, and Negligence of BaileeBailmentBailments for Mutual BenefitBailee was entitled to limit its liability for negligence pursuant to terms in lease agreement; bailment was not a professional one, and lease agreement clearly stated that bailee would not be responsible for loss of property and was not providing insurance that would cover loss but, rather, bailor could purchase insurance from bailee or his own agent.1Case that cites this headnote9AutomobilesIn General; Nature of RelationTenant owner was not entitled to refund of payments made to self-storage company for months in which owner alleged stored automobile had been stolen; owner failed to produce evidence sufficient to support finding that his car disappeared before date on which payments at issue were made.10PaymentEvidenceAlthough money paid under mutual mistake can be recovered, payor has burden of proving each element necessary to his or her cause of action.1Case that cites this headnote11Automobiles
In General; Nature of RelationTenant was not entitled to receive refund of money paid to self-storage company during time period stored automobile was missing; self-storage company was entitled to credit that payment to rental owed on another space tenant was leasing for personal property other than the automobile, as there was no evidence that tenant directed company to apply payment exclusively to automobile storage.12Antitrust and Trade RegulationQuestions of Law or FactIssue whether self-storage company's failure to provide secure storage was violation of Consumer Protection Act was for jury in tenant's action fordamages resulting from loss of vehicle apparently stolen from self-storage lot; evidence indicated that self-storage operation was less safe than its name, advertisements and brochures made it appear and that that fact was proximate cause of injury to tenant's property.West's RCWA 19.86.010et seq.13TrialSufficiency to Warrant Recovery, or to Establish Cause of Action or DefenseTrialHearing and DeterminationDirected verdict is appropriate if, viewing evidence in light most favorable to nonmoving party, evidence is insufficient to support one or more factsneeded to establish cause of action.14Antitrust and Trade RegulationNature and ElementsElements needed to establish Consumer Protection Act cause of action are unfair or deceptive act or practice, occurring in trade or commerce, public interest impact, injury to plaintiff in his or her business or property and causation.West's RCWA 19.86.010et seq.3Cases that cite this headnote15Antitrust and Trade RegulationPublic Impact or Interest; Private or Internal TransactionsAct or practice affects public interest impact, for purposes of Consumer Protection Act analysis, when it is part of pattern or generalized course of conduct and there is real and substantial potential for repetition of defendant's conduct after act involving plaintiff.West's RCWA 19.86.010et seq.3Cases that cite this headnote16CostsNature and Grounds of RightCostsBad Faith or Meritless LitigationSelf-storage company was not entitled to award of attorney fees and costs in action brought by tenant for loss of automobile stored in self-storagelot; tenant's claims, including breach of contract, negligence, restitution and Consumer Protection Act violation were not frivolous.West's RCWA 4.84.185,19.86.010et seq.1Case that cites this headnote17CostsLeasesLandlord was not entitled to award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to lease provision providing that tenant agrees to pay all costs and expenses, including attorney fees and reasonable service fees of landlord in enforcing terms of lease; since tenant was suing landlord to enforce his rights under common law and Consumer Protection Act, landlord was not required to enforce terms of lease.West's RCWA 19.86.010et seq.2Cases that cite this headnoteAttorneys and Law Firms**1073*686John W. Sweet, Seattle, for appellant.Thomas R. Merrick, Robert J. Roche, Bullivant, Houser, Bailey, Pengergrass & Hoffman, Seattle, for respondent.OpinionMORGAN, Judge.After John Eifler's car disappeared while stored at Bremerton Shurgard Self Storage, he sued for breach of contract, negligence, and violation of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). We affirm the dismissal of his claims for breach of contract and negligence, but reverse and remand for trial on his CPA claim.Bremerton Shurgard Self Storage (Bremerton Shurgard) is owned and operated by Shurgard Capital Management Corporation. In May, 1988, its resident managers were Vi and Ed Reinhart.Eifler is a sailor whose job takes him to sea for months at a time. While he is gone, he needs a place to store his belongings.In 1986, Eifler leased interior space at Bremerton Shurgard. In May, 1988, he leased additional, outside space, because he needed a place to store his car.*687In May, 1988, Eifler signed a written lease. It provided in part:3.TENANT RESPONSIBLE.Tenant acknowledges and understands that no bailment is created by this lease, that landlord is not engaged in the business of storing goods for hire nor in the warehousing business, but is simply a landlord renting the Storage Unit in which Tenant can store items of personal property owned by Tenant.The Storage Unit is under the exclusive control of Tenant. Landlord does not take custody, control, possession or dominion over the contents of the Storage Unit, and does not agree to provide protection for the Self-Storage Facility, Storage Unit,or its contents thereof.**1074ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY ON OR IN THE STORAGE UNIT IS AT THE RISK OF TENANT. Tenant must take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard whatever property is stored in the Storage Unit....Landlord does not have any obligation to carry insurance on tenant's property stored in the Storage Unit. IF TENANT WISHES TO HAVE HIS PROPERTY COVERED BY INSURANCE, TENANT MUST OBTAIN SEPARATE COVERAGE. Landlord will not be responsible or otherwise liable, directly or indirectly, for loss or damage to the property of Tenant due to any cause, including fire, explosion, theft, vandalism, wind or water
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