Ifpawned items were stolen froma pawn shop,wouldthe shop liable?

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Ifpawned items were stolen froma pawn shop,wouldthe shop liable?

I pawned a lot of jewelry in a pawn shop. The pawn shop was broke into and my stuff was stolen. They say they are not liable. Are they?They say since they were not negligent and they did nothing wrong they do not have to make it right with me. My stuff was in the safe but the thief’s came in from the ceiling and just carried out a safe with over four hundred thousand dollars worth of stuff. The safe was not bolted down, no alarm went off, and no videos cameras on. Would that be enough to say they were negligent?

Asked on October 23, 2010 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You might be able to argue that the pawn shop was negligent due to the lax security.  Negligence is based on forseeable harm.  In order to establish negligence, you would have to prove that the pawn shop owed a duty of due care (that degree of care that a reasonable pawn shop would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances).  If a reasonable pawn shop would have had a security system that would have prevented this type of break-in, then the pawn shop in question failed to exercise due care.  After establishing a duty of due care, you would have to prove that the pawn shop breached the duty of due care owed to you to safeguard your possessions by its lax security.  You would also need to establish causation.  Actual cause means but for the lax security would the theft of your property have occurred?  If the answer is no, then you have established actual cause.  You now need to establish proximate cause which means were there any unforeseeable intervening events that would have relieved the pawn shop of liability?  The answer appears to be no, since the burglary was foreseeable.  You have now established that the pawn shop was negligent.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover) in your lawsuit for negligence against the pawn shop would be the value of your jewelry that was stolen. 


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