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I dropped off some 21 years old negatives at Walgreens, they were lost. Can I sue?

Oakland, CA |

I went to pick up the pictures and my negatives, when the manager looked for them he could not find neither of them. They also did some research of their surveillance cameras, and stated they saw me drop them off on the date I mentioned to them, but stated they could not find them. I am devistated that someone could be so careless with someone's property. I really want justice, I actully would rather have my negatives back, they were of my new born son whom is now 21 years of age, and if I am not mistaken my brother whom is now deceased was also present in the photos. I don't have no other photos that could replace them, I really want them back. Please tell me what can be done, maybe I can have them research again for them. Help me to get my property back, please. Thank you in advance.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    This happened in WA state, and the court of appeals gave a nice, reasoned decision about how to value property that means a lot to you, but not a lot to anybody else. It doesn't apply in CA because it is not CA law, but it might give an attorney a starting place to request damages. The Case is called "Bartell Drugs" and Google Scholar for WA courts will probably pull it up.
    Elizabeth Powell

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  2. Based on the fact you had to consult surveillance tape, does this mean you don't have a receipt or related paperwork? It sounds as though the company may have acted negligently, but the question will be what release of liability exists on the receipt/paperwork (and whether it's enforceable). You need to have an attorney review what you agreed to, if anything, and then evaluate the case. A lawsuit can't return picture pictures that are lost, however -- if there's liability, you may have to place a monetary value on the pictures.

    The information/answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your individual situation. This attorney is only licensed to practice law in California. Your question and this answer do not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not send/post any confidential information.


  3. Unfortunately, no amount of money can replace the value of the photos to you. Most likely the contract between you and the store (your receipt or the packaging you placed the undeveloped film or negatives in) stated that by leaving them with the store you were assuming some risk. You could file in small claims court after sending a demand letter to the store by certified mail. I don't think an attorney will get involved due to the low and difficult to prove damages. Sorry for your loss and good luck! Keep trying to get them to find the negatives!

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  4. You can sue, but the problem will be placing a value on the photo negatives.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com