Laursen v. Bemister

In Docks Wharves and Marinas on (Updated )

This was an action in negligence, breach of contract and bailment against the Defendant in respect of damage to the Plaintiffs’ vessels that were stored in the Defendant’s barn when the roof collapsed under a snow load. The action was dismissed. The court held that the Defendant was aware of the potential risk from snow accumulation but took reasonable steps, including daily inspections, to care for the Plaintiffs’ property. Thus, the Defendant was not negligent and had complied with the implied term of the contracts that he would use reasonable care in storing the Plaintiffs’ property. On the issue of bailment, the court held that the relationship between the Plaintiffs and Defendant was one of licence and not bailment. In reaching this conclusion the court found that the Plaintiffs had not provided the Defendant with access to their chattels nor the means of moving same and that the barn was open to all. Therefore, the court held, the Defendant did not have exclusive possession of the Plaintiffs’ chattels, a necessary element of bailment.