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Old 02-26-2013, 07:15 AM
147 posts, read 310,572 times
Reputation: 80


When I was seen in St Mary's hospital in Passaic ER about 4 years ago they made me change into a hospital gown. My clothes and personal stuff were put into two plastic bags. When I checked out of the hospital they could not find the bag containing my coat, which had my watch in its pocket. I thought they would compensate me some way, but everyone I talked to just sent me to someone else. I thought of suing them, but I have no way to prove what happened and the value of the lost items was only about $80. I figured it would cost more to hire a lawyer than the items were worth. I thought of small claims court, but again, I have no way of proving what they lost or their value, so I would just have wasted more money and time for nothing. Someone just told me they don't require written proof in small claims court and it's mainly decided on the judge's opinion. But he wasn't a lawyer, and I don't know what the time limitation is in such cases. Anyone have any legal expertise? In any case, I thought I'd warn everyone to get a written receipt if they take your clothes in a hospital.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:29 AM
Location: Cape Coral Fl /Randolph NJ
12,190 posts, read 21,829,903 times
Reputation: 9159
After 4 years and a value of $80 I would just let it go. The amount of time you will spend filing and going to small claims is not worth $80 ...jmo

Even if watch had sentimental value recooping the cost will not restore the sentiment.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:43 AM
Location: New Jersey/Florida
5,037 posts, read 9,066,447 times
Reputation: 3031
Makes sense to me. Pay about 5,000 for a lawyer to maybe recover the approx costs of old clothes that might be worth 80 bucks that were stuffed into a bag 4 years ago. Sounds like a bright move. I hope you're not a financial advisor.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:43 AM
Location: Randolph, NJ
4,071 posts, read 6,110,038 times
Reputation: 3176
You can sue. You will lose.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:53 AM
11,159 posts, read 12,836,881 times
Reputation: 14979
Aside from the reality that the filing fee for Small Claims Court will be almost as high as the value of those old clothes, there is a legal principle that will almost surely cause the OP to lose his case in court.

That principle, known as Laches, dictates that you must seek legal relief in a timely manner. I seriously doubt if anyone would consider a suit filed 4 years after the fact to be timely, and I believe that the court would either refuse to hear your case or would very promptly dismiss it once you appear.

In other words, the OP will waste both time and money by attempting to seek legal relief after this much time has elapsed.

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Old 02-26-2013, 08:07 AM
14,660 posts, read 30,622,765 times
Reputation: 13889
Legally, you could sue. You are under the 6 year statute of limitations for property damage/loss that applies in NJ small claims court. The fee to file is $15, so that is less then your claimed losses. It then comes down to questioning whether or not it is worth your time to pursue compensation over $80 worth of old clothes and a crappy watch. Honestly, I think you have a somewhat good case, but I would personally just let it go as it's not worth the time. If you did pursue it, you are going to have to come up with a pretty good reason for the judge over why you waited 4 years to file. Outside of that, it's basically coming up with a reasonable value for the items, which it seems like you did.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:20 AM
Location: Hollywood Fl, Maplewood Nj
79 posts, read 138,129 times
Reputation: 40
You can sue, but I really don't think there would be a lawyer to actually take the case.. You would have to prove it happened there and who did it .. And you declined the written receipt, now if you had video taped it and there was absolute proof is another story..

I had an issue where I had a tire place crack my '80 Corvette because they handled the car improperly due to its being made out of fiberglass and you have to lift the car a certain way or it will crack.. Well I didn't notice till I got home, and was in a hurry to get outta there and get some sleep I didn't check the car before I left..

Being I drove the car off the property there was no way I could prove it was done there and no lawyer would take the case..
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:33 AM
11,159 posts, read 12,836,881 times
Reputation: 14979
Originally Posted by Jerseys Rants View Post
You can sue, but I really don't think there would be a lawyer to actually take the case.
People normally represent themselves in Small Claims Court, and this case--over the issue of $80--is clearly a very small claim.
Why would anyone contemplate paying an attorney--most likely--$750 or more in order to try to recover $80?

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Old 02-26-2013, 09:36 AM
Location: Bergen County, NJ
1,603 posts, read 3,209,084 times
Reputation: 1837
Four years ago and you suddenly miss them now ??

Statue of limitations is nearing an end, if not already, why did you wait so long ? lol.

Sounds frivolous, obviously you didn't miss them that much. And, for $80.00. It will cost you more to file ...

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Old 02-26-2013, 10:03 AM
Location: Holmdel, NJ
20,333 posts, read 24,650,374 times
Reputation: 12421
haha you want to sue them for $80 for something lost 4 years ago??? you just dont let anything go do you. if you want to do it so bad, then sue them in small claims court. win or lose, you get to have your day in court!
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