Facts: P parked her automobile in a lot operated by D under an agreement of the Port
Authority, receiving a ticket labeled “license to Park” that stated there was a contract that
the holder parks his car at his own risk when she returned, it had disappeared. Trial court
found in favor of P and the Court of Appeals reversed finding that no bailment had been
created.
Issue:
Holding: Affirmed for D
Rationale:
– The service provided by D to the P was clearly a space for her automobile to stand
while she was away on her trip. The space was located in a lot where many other
cars were standing and to which the operators and others were given access. P
was not treated differently than any other nor was she led to believe that the lot
would not be open to others
– The service provided by D was impersonal. P was aware that the D had no
employees either to deliver the ticket for the car or to park the car. She accepted
the ticket from an automatic dispensing device and she parked the car herself, not
at any direction of D
– P retained as much control as possible over the car. She locked the car and kept
the keys. She did not expect or desire the D to move the car in her absence
– The actual operation of an airport parking lot must have been apparent to her.
Thousands of cars were constantly entering and leaving the airport, many of
which were using the lot that her car occupied. P seeing the confusion should
have realized the gigantic task which an individual check out of each car would
require.
– In the absence of any proof of neglect by the D, then, D should not be held
responsible for the loss of the automobile (burden of proof is on P)
Dissent: P was a captive customer to D. There was no public street on which she could
have parked, nor was there a choice of parking facilities. She was encouraged by D’s
operation of a commercial parking lot and had no choice of accommodation. She could
not leave and take her car without paying the service. There was a gate and the garage
was fenced in.