What are my options if a bar that I left my business equipmentinhas gone out of business and I can’t get back inside the building?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2011

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What are my options if a bar that I left my business equipmentinhas gone out of business and I can’t get back inside the building?

I’m a DJ for local bars. In this case I have a set of PA speakers worth approx $2500 sitting in a bar that has gone out of business and the owners of the property have changed the locks so the original bar owner cannot get back on premises. The property owners left a name and contact number of a person on the window, however that person never answers their phone nor returns messages. I’m stuck at this point on what to do next. Report the equipment stolen to the police? Sue in small claims court for loss of use and my property? What are my options?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Business Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You have identified the two different options you have:

1) You can report the equipment as stolen, but be aware that while the police *should* intervene in a case like this, they often refuse to--even though illegally retaining your equipment is a crime, they will treat it as a civil dispute, since they want to focus on more socially serious and less ambiguous crimes, like drug use, assault, etc.

2) You can sue for the return of your equipment. Note that you may need to sue in civil court (i.e. country or municipal court), not the small claims section or court, since what you are suing for is injunctive relief--a court order that they let you get your equipment. You can still represent yourself if you like, but the rules are a bit stricter and the filing fees slightly more expensive. Contract your court's clerk's office and ask the clerk which court to file in; he or she will be able to tell you, and also point you to instructions, sample forms, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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