What is breach of bailment?

Bailment Defined

A bailment is called a deposit within the Civil Code. It is defined as “[a] voluntary deposit [...] made by one giving to another, with his consent, the possession of personal property to keep for the benefit of the former, or of a third party.” (Civ. Code, § 1814.)

Bailments as Lease Agreements Beyond 20 Days

A bailment as defined by Civil Code section 1955 as follows: “[e]xcept as otherwise agreed by the lessor and the lessee in lease agreements for a term of more than 20 days, one who leases personal property must deliver it to the lessee, secure his or her quiet enjoyment thereof against all lawful claimants, put it into a condition fit for the purpose for which he or she leases it, and repair all deteriorations thereof not occasioned by the fault of the lessee and not the natural result of its use.” (Cal. Civ. Code §1955).

Similarities with Contracts

The elements of a breach of contract claim are:

  1. the existence of a contract,
  2. breach of the contract’s terms, and
  3. resulting damage.

(Tribeca Companies, LLC v. First American Title Insurance Co. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1088, 1109.)

“The elements of breach of bailment are substantially similar. “In a broad sense a bailment is the delivery of a thing to another for some special object or purpose, on a contract, express or implied, to conform to the objects or purposes of the delivery which may be as various as the transactions of men.” (H. S. Crocker Co. v. McFaddin (1957) 148 Cal.App.2d 639, 643.)

Duty of Bailee

Under California law, “a bailment for the benefit of both parties ... is a bailment for hire, and imposes on the bailee the duty to use ordinary care with respect to the bailed property.” (Gerbert v. Yank (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 544, 551 (emphasis added).)

“A bailment ‘is made by one giving to another, with his consent, the possession of personal property to keep for the benefit of the former, or of a third party.’” (McKell v. Washington (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1491 citing Civ. Code, § 1814; see Gebert v. Yank (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 544, 551; 13 Witkin, Summary of Cal. Law, supra, Personal Property, § 156, p. 168.) In McKell “Plaintiffs allege in their breach of bailment cause of action that they ‘delivered to Washington Mutual, and Washington Mutual agreed to hold for the benefit of plaintiffs, money to pay the cost of underwriting, tax services and wire transfer services.’” (Id.) “More specifically, they allege that "Washington Mutual entered into a standard form loan contract with plaintiffs..., in which plaintiffs... agreed to pay Washington Mutual for the benefit of third parties money for the cost of tax services, and Washington Mutual agreed to pay over to these third party vendors the actual cost for these services and return the remainder to plaintiffs...’” “In breach of this agreement, Washington Mutual paid only a portion of the money to the third party vendors and kept a portion for itself.”

Useful Resources for Breach of Bailment

Recent Rulings on Breach of Bailment

SPARKS VS PARISH

Breach of Contract and Breach of Bailment Defendants contend both the breach of contract and breach of bailment causes of action fail because plaintiffs did not attach a copy of the alleged contract or recite its pertinent terms. "[F]ailure either to attach or to set out verbatim the terms of the contract was not fatal to [a] breach of contract cause of action" as long as the essential terms or legal effect are pled. Miles v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 394, 402.

  • Hearing

    Feb 14, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

DIANE FISHER VS LOUIS KEARN, ET AL.

Cause of Action for Breach of Bailment Plaintiff alleges that moving Defendants took possession of her Karastan 717 area rug for cleaning and failed to return it or reimburse her for its cost. (FAC, p. 4.)

  • Hearing

    Feb 14, 2019

  • Judge

    James E. Blancarte or Wendy Chang

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

GARY PATENT ET AL VS OLATUNJI BANDELE D V M ET AL

Negligent Breach of Bailment “In an action for breach of a bailment contract, the bailor must prove that the agreement is a bailment contract, the property was deposited with the bailee, a demand was made for the property, and the bailee failed to return the property.” (Needelman v. DeWolf Realty Co., Inc. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 750, 762.) Here, Plaintiffs have not alleged that they demanded a return of their property, and Defendants failed to return the property.

  • Hearing

    Oct 26, 2018

GARY PATENT ET AL VS OLATUNJI BANDELE D V M ET AL

Negligent Breach of Bailment “In an action for breach of a bailment contract, the bailor must prove that the agreement is a bailment contract, the property was deposited with the bailee, a demand was made for the property, and the bailee failed to return the property.” (Needelman v. DeWolf Realty Co., Inc. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 750, 762.) Here, Plaintiffs have not alleged that they demanded a return of their property, and Defendants failed to return the property.

  • Hearing

    Oct 26, 2018

(NO CASE NAME AVAILABLE)

On 08/10/18, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) against defendants for: (1) negligence; (2) trespass to chattel; (3) negligent breach of bailment; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (5) fraud; (6) misrepresentation; and (7) deceptive practices. ANALYSIS: Defendants Young Joo Kim, DVM and Central Orange County Emergency Animal Hospital seek a determination that the settlement between them and plaintiffs was made in good faith. (Notice of Motion, p. 2:2-7.)

  • Hearing

    Sep 12, 2018

GARY PATENT ET AL VS OLATUNJI BANDELE D V M ET AL

They note that the Complaint alleges only three causes of action against all defendants: (1) negligence; (2) trespass to chattel; and (3) negligent breach of bailment. (See Motion, p. 1:26-27.) The three more serious causes of action — intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and misrepresentation — are alleged only against defendants Bandele and LA Central Animal Hospital. (See Id. at p. 1:28-2:2.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 30, 2018

JOSEPH V. MOSQUITO FIRE PROTECTION DIST.

“Plaintiffs' common law causes of action were for unjust enrichment, breach of bailment agreement and conversion. There is no cause of action for unjust enrichment. Rather, unjust enrichment is a basis for obtaining restitution based on quasi-contract or imposition of a constructive trust. (1 Witkin, Summary of Cal. Law (10th ed. 2005) Contracts, §§ 1015, 1016, pp. 1104-1105.)” (McKell v. Washington Mut., Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1490.)

  • Hearing

    Feb 16, 2018

JOSEPH V. MOSQUITO FIRE PROTECTION DIST.

“Plaintiffs' common law causes of action were for unjust enrichment, breach of bailment agreement and conversion. There is no cause of action for unjust enrichment. Rather, unjust enrichment is a basis for obtaining restitution based on quasi-contract or imposition of a constructive trust. (1 Witkin, Summary of Cal. Law (10th ed. 2005) Contracts, §§ 1015, 1016, pp. 1104-1105.)” (McKell v. Washington Mut., Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1490.)

  • Hearing

    Feb 16, 2018

HELEN FUNG VS AIM UNITED LLC, ET. AL

INTRODUCTION Plaintiff’s Complaint asserts Causes of Action alleging: (1) Breach of Contract; (2) Common Counts; (3) Fraud [also titled “Intentional Misrepresentation” in body of Complaint]; (4) Breach of Bailment; (5) Negligence Contract; and (6) Embezzlement/Conversion of Personal Property Plaintiff alleges Causes of Action 1-3 against Defendant Oregon Trail Corporation. Defendant demurs to each of them.

  • Hearing

    Oct 10, 2017

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

RAMOS-ZAMORA VS. CRDN

Second Cause of Action: Breach of Bailment Defendants’ demurrer is sustained with 15 days leave to amend. Plaintiff’s complaint does not allege facts support the existence of any bailment. (CCP § 430.10(e); H. S. Crocker Co. v. McFaddin (1957) 148 Cal.App.2d 639, 643.) In fact, the complaint alleges Plaintiff did not sign any contract. (FAC ¶ 21.) Third Cause of Action: Trespass to Chattel Defendants’ demurrer is overruled. The complaint adequately pleads a claim for trespass to chattel.

  • Hearing

    Aug 01, 2017

DAVID LAWRENCE ET AL VS NEW LEACH ON LIFE RESCUE FOUNDATION

MOVING PARTIES: Defendants New Leash on Life Rescue Foundation and Sean Tanner OPPOSTION: Plaintiff David Lawrence and Allen Schmitt On May 25, 2017, plaintiffs filed a complaint for, (1) conversion, (2) trespass to chattel, (3) breach of contract, (4) unfair business practices, (5) breach of bailment, (6) negligence per se (Civil Code section 1834), (7) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (8) negligence - individual, and (9) exemplary damages (Civil Code sections 3340 and 3294.).

  • Hearing

    Jul 31, 2017

RAMOS-ZAMORA VS. CRDN

Second Cause of Action: Breach of Bailment Defendants’ demurrer is sustained with 10 days’ leave to amend. Plaintiff’s complaint does not allege facts to support the existence of any bailment. (C.C.P. §430.10(e); H. S. Crocker Co. v. McFaddin (1957) 148 Cal.App.2d 639, 647.) The complaint is also ambiguous and uncertain (C.C.P. § 430.10(f)); the complaint is unclear what personal property was wrongfully withheld, or by which defendant.

  • Hearing

    Apr 01, 2017

OLSZEWSKI VS LIN

James Lin and Reproductive Fertility Clinic) to the Second Cause of Action for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, Third Cause of Action for Conversion and the Fourth Cause of Action for Breach of Bailment Contract is sustained with 20 days’ leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Jan 30, 2017

THERESA BAILEY VS. DESERT VIEW AUCTION

Overrule Defendant's evidentiary objections. 1st c/a: Breach of Bailment James argues no privity of contract between James and Plaintiff. James testified that he came into possession/control of the jewelry box, i.e., there is notice/knowledge on the part of bailee James Hall that the jewelry was in his possession and that it was the property of Plaintiff, and he placed it into the safe. This creates a triable issue of material fact as to whether James Hall was in privity with Plaintiff.

  • Hearing

    May 31, 2016

KOSMALA VS THOMAS

Overrule the demurrer on grounds of duplicity between the 5th (negligent breach of bailment) and 1st (negligence per se) causes of action. Amended pleading to be filed and served no later than August 4, 2015. Discussion 3rd cause of action for trespass to chattel.

  • Hearing

    Jul 21, 2015

KATHRYN DAVIS VS. HUMPHREY, GIACOPUZZI & ASSOCIATES EQUINE HOSPITAL

s Demurrer to First Amended Complaint as follows: 1st and 5th causes of action for (1st) breach of bailment and (5th) failure of an animal depositary resulting in wrongful death (contract): Overruled. Both of these causes of action are, in essence, causes of action for breach of a bailment contract under CC § 1834, which are properly alleged for pleading purposes. 6th cause of action for breach of contract: Sustained with leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Dec 30, 2010

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

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