Monday, April 29, 2013

Allen v. Hyatt Regency--Nashville Hotel case brief

Allen v. Hyatt Regency--Nashville Hotel case brief
668 S.W.2d 286

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellant hotel challenged a finding in the Equity Court of Davidson County (Tennessee) in favor of appellee vehicle owner. The vehicle in question was stolen while in the parking garage operated by the hotel, and the trial court determined that a bailment for hire had been created.

FACTS: The vehicle owner parked his vehicle in a garage owned and operated by the hotel. The vehicle was stolen and he filed suit against the hotel, alleging negligence. The trial court found in favor of the vehicle owner. The hotel appealed, and the court affirmed.

The court found that because the vehicle was not left in an open or unattended lot, that a bailment for hire was created. Thus, under a bailment for hire, a statutory presumption of negligence arose, under Tenn. Code Ann. § 24-5-111, once the vehicle was found to be missing. The court recognized that there was a question as to whether there had been sufficient delivery of possession and control to create a bailment when the owner locked a vehicle and kept the keys. Nevertheless, the realities of the situation were that the operator of the garage was expected to provide attendants and protection. Thus, the facts of the case were not at variance with the legal requirements of the traditional concept of a bailment for hire.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the decision of the trial court in favor of the vehicle owner. The case was remanded for any further necessary proceedings.

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