If I left some jewelry for repairs, paid over the phone for the repairs but now the jewelry store owner claims he cannot find my property, what recourse do I have?

About a year ago I was out of state and took some jewelry in for repairs. The items were not ready when I had to return home. My mother stopped up a few times to pick up my jewelry but they were never ready. Finally, about 5 months ago the jewelry store owner took a payment for the repairs over the phone and was supposed to ship my stuff in a Fed Ex prepaid envelope that I sent to him. However, I never received tthe jewelry. Last week I was there and went to his store numerous times for my jewelry. He claims that he can’t find it. What can I do to remedy this problem?

Asked on August 16, 2012 under General Practice, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the jeweler for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable jeweler would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove neglgience, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the jeweler, would your jewelry have been lost?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the jeweler of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit for negligence.  Your damages would be the value or replacement cost of the jewelry.

You will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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