Pennsylvania Record

Monday, January 20, 2020

Philly woman says self-storage facility failed to mail her rental bills and auctioned her possessions

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 16, 2017


PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff and former storage unit occupant has filed a lawsuit against the company which owned the unit, and, according to her, sold her possessions at auction two years ago without advance warning of alleged non-payment.

Marlene Young of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on May 31 versus Public Storage, Inc. of Glendale, Calif.

Young, now 75 years old and a lifelong Philadelphian, rented a storage unit from the defendant beginning in March 2013, for $86.00 per month. Young paid her rental fee by check each month.

According to the lawsuit, the unit contained a lifetime of Young’s poetry and essays, family photographs, a coin collection, linens, clothing, vinyl records, financial documents and other possessions.

Young moved to another address in Philadelphia in December 2014, and assumed the address change was made in the defendant’s internal records, because she received a notice at her new residence in March 2015, informing her the monthly rental fee was being increased to $125.00.

Young was further informed weeks later in April 2015 that she would need to pay an additional $18.00 per month to cover an increase in insurance costs, with which Young complied and made monthly payments for her unit from April through August 2015.

However, Young said she noticed her checks for July and August 2015 had not been cashed, and inquired with the defendant regarding same. At that point, the storage facility told Young her possessions were sold at auction in June 2015 – despite Young explaining her rental check from that same month had been cashed.

The defendant further informed Young that notices of non-payment were sent to her original address rather than her new one, these notices were returned because her forwarding address had expired and its internal records did not reflect the new address.

“Although many of the possessions auctioned off had distinct monetary value, the accumulation of poetry, photographs and manuscripts that plaintiff had spent a lifetime creating are invaluable and irreplaceable,” the lawsuit says.

For count of breach of contract, conversion, violation of the Pennsylvania Self-Storage Facility Act and Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages not in excess of $50,000, treble damages, costs, expenses, attorney’s fees, and other relief the Court may deem just, proper and equitable in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by Rachel Gallegos of Steve Harvey Law, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170504405

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas