In Kanovsky v. At Your Door Self Storage (No. B297338; filed 11/25/19), a California appeals court held that a waiver of liability and agreement to self-insure in a storage container contract barred coverage for water damage to goods stored in the container.
In Kanovsky, plaintiffs contracted for portable storage containers when moving. They loaded their washing machine into one of the containers without checking whether it was fully drained. They locked the containers and reopened them four years later to discover water damage to the contents. They sued the storage company, alleging causes of action for breach of contract; tortious breach of covenant; negligence; and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code section 1750. The storage company’s insurer intervened and moved for summary judgment, which was granted.
The appeals court affirmed. The storage company’s contract contained a release of liability stating that personal property was stored “at the customer’s sole risk” and the owners “shall not be liable for any damage or loss,” including water damage. Further, the contract stated that the containers were not waterproof, and again that the storage company was not liable for water damage. The contract attached an addendum further stating that the owner was “a landlord renting space, is not a warehouseman, and does not take custody of my property.” The addendum went on with an acknowledgement that the owner: “2. Is not responsible for loss or damage to my property; 3. Does not provide insurance on my property for me; and 4. Requires that I provide my own insurance coverage or be ‘Self-Insured’ (personally assume risk of loss or damage).”
Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Kendrick, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Valerie A. Moore, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP
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