What gives a gym the right to break into a locked locker?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What gives a gym the right to break into a locked locker?

Another woman said to the gym her keys and sweater were in a
locked locker. Without attempting to locate the person who had
a lock on the locker they just broke it the lock off.

Asked on March 18, 2018 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) They probably believed the lock belonged to the person who was saying her things were locked inside (which is normally the case), in which case their action was perfectly reasonable and logical. In this case, the would have acted in the reasonable belief that a person was authorizing them to cut her own lock off.
2) Even if they knew or had reason to suspect that it was someone else's lock, they'd only be liable for any losses or costs caused by them cutting off the lock--e.g. if nothing was stolen as a result, only for the cost of the lock itself, making any action (other than just complaining) not economically worthwhile.

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