Suing Public Storage as a Customer

Let's say you paid good money to keep your goods secured safely but Public Storage didn't hold up their end of the bargain. The good news is that it's possible to sue them in small claims court. But you will want to prepare appropriately to maximize your chance of success.

There's legal precedent on your side. The Gonzalez v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc. case serves as some context to how your claim may go. Lisa Gonzalez sued A-1 Self Storage for negligence in a small claims court. She argued that the goods she had stored at the facility were destroyed by water and that it was A-1 Self Storages' responsibility. The court ruled in favor of Ms. Gonzalez and was awarded over $5000 in damages.

If reading about her case sounds familiar to your situation, you could also be compensated in small claims court. This article will show you how to go about that.

Reasons to Sue Public Storage

There are a few common reasons folks have sued storage companies like Public Storage in the past:

  • Infestation - If your storage unit becomes infested with rodents or bugs, it could mean the facility has failed to hold up its responsibility to have some sort of pest control. The storage company might be liable if your property was damaged.
  • Water Damage - Storage facilities are also responsible for site flood and water damage prevention. You could sue for negligence if your property were damaged.
  • Fire Damage - A fire at your storage facility could cause untold damage to your property. If you can show the court that the facility was negligent in handling fire safety, you could be compensated in small claims court.
  • Theft - Storage facilities have been the target of robberies in the past. If you believe that they did provide adequate security on site, you may also be able to sue in small claims court.

Preparing before your Lawsuit

If you have decided that Public Storage is responsible due to negligence for your stolen or damaged property, there are some things to consider before filing a small claim:

  • Rental Agreement - Read and re-read your rental agreement. It likely has a clause that attempts to limit your ability to seek compensation in the case of property damage.
  • Reach Out - It may be that the facility owner is willing to take responsibility for what occurred. You can save time and money by speaking with them before filing a suit. Remember to get all agreements in writing in case you do need to go to court.
  • Gather Evidence - You will want evidence showing your property's value. That may be receipts or estimates from a credible vendor. You will also want to document the damage to show the court.
  • Identify the Registered Agent - Most businesses will have an employee or an outside company hired to receive service of process when they are the target of a lawsuit. You will most likely need to list them on your small claims documents to have your case successfully filed.

Filing a Small Claim Against Public Storage

If you feel like you have a case, the next step is to file a small claim. You can file a small claim with Dispute completely on your own and hassle-free.

Here are the general next steps to begin.

Send a Demand Letter

Sending a demand letter is the first step before heading to a small claims court. A demand letter can also be described as "a note of intent to sue". Many cases are resolved through a demand letter.

It may be beneficial to have the letter sent on professional letterhead. For example, if you purchase our demand letter service, we'll put the demand on our letterhead. It takes 5 minutes to generate and queue a letter to go out in 1 business day via USPS 2-day priority mail.

After sending your demand letter, you’ll want to file a statement of claim. This is the official state small claims form. For this form, you'll need the following information:

  1. The courthouse you’d like to file in
  2. Reason for the lawsuit
  3. Claim amount ($)
  4. Name and address of the person/business that is being sued

If you are suing a business like Public Storage, you need to look up their certificate of doing business. Make sure you fill out the form corresponding to the county where their company operates.

These forms can be difficult, and mistakes prevent your case from successfully filing. Experts at Dispute file paperwork daily, and a full support team can help you find answers to your questions. Check out our package options for filing with us - you can choose different services based on your budget and needs.

If you have a case, and the forms are filed out appropriately, the court will add your case to their docket and likely assign a hearing date.

Serve the Defendant

Once your claim has been approved by the court, you are required by law to notify the defendant that you're suing them. Different courthouses have different regulations regarding defendant service. Some require service through mail, while you may need to find a private process server for others.

Other courts require the defendant to "answer” the claim and wait for that answer before deciding to hold a hearing. Contact your courthouse for their rules to better understand what you expect.

Prepare for Court

You can take a few steps when preparing for your day in court.

  1. Gather evidence
  2. Prepare witnesses, if you have any
  3. Dress appropriately
  4. Show up on time
  5. Present your Case

After you and the other party present your case, the court will provide a ruling. The last step is collecting your money if you are fortunate and the judge rules in your favor.

Good luck with your case, and please contact us if you have any questions about our services.