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Man suing storage company for auctioning personal items seeks to dismiss counter claim

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 29, 2016

A man who claims his personal property was sold by a Collinsville storage company seeks to dismiss Ace Storage’s counter claim, arguing that all liens should be terminated.

The parties were ordered to file all dispositive motions by Dec. 9 and all responses or replies by Dec. 30. He then scheduled a motion hearing for Jan. 27 at 9 a.m.

Plaintiff Gary Tedford claims he began storing his personal belongings with defendant Ace Ventures-Collinsville LLC, doing business as 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 his 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.

Ace Storage filed a counter claim against Tedford arguing that his 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.”

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

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

The defendant alleges Tedford came to the storage facility 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.

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

Tedford filed a motion to dismiss Ace Storage’s counterclaim on Sept. 30. He argues that Ace Storage relies on a lien on all personal property located at the self-service storage facility for rent, labor or other charges.

“The basis of the Defendants (Ace Storage) counter claim is the value of that lien owed by the Plaintiff on the unpaid rent and reasonable charge incurred in its sale or other disposition pursuant to this Act,” the motion states.

Tedford argues that the Act further states that the lien on any personal property is terminated when the property is sold or otherwise disposed of by removing it from the storage facility.

“The Defendant Ace Storage gave up its right to collect on the lien, by having an auction, albeit an improper and illegal sale pursuant to the statute.

“The Defendant Ace Storage has conducted over five hundred auctions in the last five years in this County and at no time did it ever attempt to collect on an unpaid lien by court auction until now. They knew they were barred by statute to collect in this manner but in an act of malice toward me and my family is attempting to add insult to injury by filing this counter claim for an unpaid lien,” the motion states.

Tedford is representing himself pro se.

Ace Storage is represented by attorneys Theresa Phelps and John Gazzoli Jr. of Rosenblum Goldenhersh in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1131

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