PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia court’s arbitration center decreed a plaintiff who filed a lawsuit against her storage company which allegedly sold her possessions at auction two years ago without advance warning was entitled to a payment of $8,000.
Marlene Young of Philadelphia initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on May 31, 2017 versus Public Storage, Inc. of Glendale, Calif.
Young, now 76 years old and a lifelong Philadelphian, rented a storage unit from the defendant beginning in March 2013 for $86 per month, the fee of which she paid 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 said.
On Feb. 22, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and its Arbitration Center directed that Young was entitled to a payment of $8,000 for her lost possessions.
Prior to the decision of the Arbitration Center, for counts of breach of contract, conversion, violation of the Pennsylvania Self-Storage Facility Act and Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), the plaintiff was 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 was represented by Rachel Gallegos of Steve Harvey Law, in Philadelphia.
The defendant was represented by Yvette N. Bradley and Emily A. Cathcart of McElroy Deutsch Mulvaney Carp, also in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170504405
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com