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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.

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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

Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.


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.



The employee stated the receipt machine was broken, but when he typed in my phone number he found my information, then stated everything will be fine, after I looked at him like he wasn't telling me the truth. I also had my mom with me. I really just want those negatives back, they were all I had of my son in his infant stages. I've cried for days now, and still don't know what to do. They have never lost my property before, and I think the young male employee was not professional acting. I just would like my negatives back.


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.



Thank you for your comment. They did admit error, they did not give me any receipts, as the gentlemen stated, the machine was not working, but after punching in my phone number into the computer, my information came up. He then began to prove his findings by reciting my personal information to. He then stated to me, not to worry about it, that he would take care of everything, and I would be able to come and pick up my finished product in a few days. My mom, and I left after I had that discussion with him assuming he was telling me the truth, never realizing I could possible never see my negative's again.



Cont. I saw errors in message, and posted it too soon. Too many, so I am re-writing just a few of the words. One shoul read; ( reciting my info. to me) another is (after the few days comment, he said that to me because he saw the look on my face I gave to him, after he said the machine was down, and that he could not provide me with a receipt at that time) last is where I wrote ( possible, when it should read possibly) please excuse my errors, and accept my apologizes.


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 -

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