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Storage company claims customer chose not to pay outstanding balance despite scheduled auction

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 10, 2015

A Collinsville storage company sued for allegedly improperly selling a man’s personal items denies liability, arguing that the man was given notice of the scheduled auction if the outstanding balance was not paid in full.

Plaintiff Gary Tedford filed his lawsuit on Sept. 1 against Ace Ventures-Collinsville LLC, doing business as Ace Storage.

According to the complaint, Tedford claims he began storing his personal belongings at Ace Storage on Aug. 23, 2014, with the understanding that he would receive a late payment notice if his payments were 10 days overdue.

He claims Ace Storage failed to send the reminder and neglected to advertise a public auction of Tedford’s belongings. Instead, the plaintiff alleges Ace Storage distributed his stored items to its employees, sold items at an auction and has refused to return the items to the plaintiff.

Tedford seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs of the suit.

Ace Ventures answered the complaint on Oct. 13 through attorneys Theresa Phelps and John Gazzoli Jr. of Rosenblum Goldenhersh in St. Louis, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims are barred because he “committed a prior material breach of the agreement between the parties in that, among other things, Plaintiff failed to make timely payments under the agreement.”

According to the Rental Agreement and Waiver of Liability, the defendant claims the plaintiff accepted all responsibility for loss or damage to any property stored within the storage unit and that the plaintiff’s damages are limited to a value of $5,000 or less.

The defendant adds that Tedford received notice of the delinquent balance on his account and that an auction date had been scheduled.

Ace Ventures also argues that it was privileged and authorized to conduct an auction with respect to the personal property stored in the storage unity in order to attempt to satisfy the statutory lien held by the defendant.

The defendant alleges Tedford came to the storage facility on July 16, the day before the scheduled auction, and paid approximately half of the outstanding balance. However, he immediately “changed his mind” and demanded that the cash be returned to him, which the defendant did.

Ace Ventures says the plaintiff knew of the auction and still chose not to pay the balance and left the facilities.

Attorney Randall P. Steele of Steele Law Offices LLC in Glen Carbon represents Tedford.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1131

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