Aldridge v. Good Friend Self Storage, Docket No. SC 1461-20

CourtNew York City Court
Writing for the CourtAdam Seiden, J.
Citation155 N.Y.S.3d 287,73 Misc.3d 528
Decision Date24 September 2021
Docket NumberDocket No. SC 1461-20
Parties Myrna ALDRIDGE and Odetto Taylor, Plaintiffs, v. GOOD FRIEND SELF STORAGE, Defendant.

73 Misc.3d 528
155 N.Y.S.3d 287

Myrna ALDRIDGE and Odetto Taylor, Plaintiffs,
v.
GOOD FRIEND SELF STORAGE, Defendant.

Docket No. SC 1461-20

City Court, New York, Mount Vernon.

Decided on September 24, 2021


Myrna Aldridge, Plaintiff, redacted, Mount Vernon, NY 10550

Joseph Miller, Esq., Attorney for Defendant, 670 White Plains Road, Suite 101, Scarsdale, NY 10583

Adam Seiden, J.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action seeking to recover $5,000.00 for loss of personal property. A hearing was held on July 23, 2021.

At the hearing, Plaintiff Aldridge testified that she rented two self storage units from the defendant on June 24, 2019 at a total cost of $332.00 per month and also paid a monthly charge for a Tenant Protection Plan. When she went to the unit three months after renting, she saw rat feces in the unit. She stated that she informed

155 N.Y.S.3d 289

an employee at the facility and that he told her that he would tell management about the infestation. On September 29, 2020, plaintiff went back to the unit and observed more rat droppings. She stated that she decided to remove her belongings. As she was sifting through her belongings she observed that the rats had eaten through her clothes and urinated on her mattress and sheets. She stated that she returned to the unit on October 1, 2020 and was denied access to the unit. Plaintiff states that all of her items were damaged. She submitted several photographs evidencing her findings.

Suzette Anderson testified for the defendant. She testified that she was the site manager at the self storage facility. She stated that on June 25, 2020, the defendant complained about rodent droppings and maintains that after they received her complaint, another employee tried to contact plaintiff to ascertain if she wanted to move to another self storage unit. Ms. Anderson testified that they were not able to reach plaintiff because her phone was disconnected. In turn, the storage facility had an exterminator set traps outside of the plaintiff's unit. Ms. Anderson testified that the exterminator increased the frequency of his visits from one time per month to one time per week. Defendant submitted numerous extermination service inspection reports from Assured Environments. Ms. Anderson testified that the plaintiff vacated the unit on September 29, 2020. She maintains that the unit was left open and that she did a walk through. As she was cleaning out the unit, she took photographs and observed that food had been stored in the unit in violation of the occupancy agreement. Ms. Anderson testified that plaintiff never claimed her property. She further stated that plaintiff paid $24 per month for a Tenant Protection Plan that covers up to $2, 500.00 in property damage for each unit.

The occupancy agreement submitted by the defendant provides that "Occupant" Myrna Aldridge leased storage space 4066 on June 25, 2019. She also executed an "Addendum to Self-Storage Occupancy Agreement", wherein she paid an additional $10 per month for a Storage Protection covering up to $2500 in property damage in the unit.

Defendant argues that it should not be held liable for the damages to plaintiff's property because her property damage is covered by the storage protection plan and further, she stored food in the unit in violation of the occupancy agreement.

Paragraph 6b of the contract provides in pertinent part: "6b. No Unlawful or Prohibited Use. Occupant will use the Storage Unit only for storage. Occupant will not store any animals, perishable goods or dangerous material ... in the Storage Unit or any other place on the Property." Paragraph 7 of the agreement requires the occupant to obtain insurance.

7. INSURANCE : ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY STORED BY OCCUPANT AT OCCUPANTS SOLE RISK. INSURANCE IS OCCUPANT'S SOLE RESPONSIBILITY. OCCUPANT UNDERSTANDS THAT OWNER WILL NOT INSURE OCCUPANT'S PERSONAL PROPERTY. OCCUPANT IS OBLIGATED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT TO INSURE HIS/HER OWN GOODS AGAINST ALL PERILS OF WHATEVER NATURE INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS BY FIRE, THEFT, OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF CASUALTY. OCCUPANT'S AGREEMENT TO OBTAIN INSURANCE IS A MATERIAL CONDITION TO THIS AGREEMENT.

To the extent Occupant's insurance lapses or Occupant does not obtain insurance
155 N.Y.S.3d 290
coverage for the full value of Occupant's personal property stored in or on the Premises, Occupant agrees Occupant will personally assume all risk of loss. Owner ... will not be responsible for, and Occupant hereby releases Owner and Owner's Agents from any responsibility for any loss, liability, claim, expense or damage to personal property ... that could have been insured against (including, without limitation, any Loss arising from the active or passive acts, omission or negligence of Owner or
...

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