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I would like to know what legal course of action I should take because I want to be reimbursed for the items I lost.

Trenton, NJ |

While in the process of moving from one apartment complex to another on my college campus (The College of New Jersey), they unlocked all the doors which has resulted in several of my items still in the room going missing. Also, unlocking all the doors and when exactly residents had to have their stuff moved out because this was going to be happening was something residents were never notified of.

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Attorney answers 1


The College of NJ is a state institution. There are limits on what can be received absent gross negligence.

You should have the equivalent of renter's insurance to cover theft and damage, but you can file a claim with the university, and IF an attorney is willing to handle what I perceive as a rather small claim, you may get the attorney to handle it on a contingency fee face.

Alternatively, although not highly recommended, you can file a claim with the Superior Court, Civil Division, Small Claims Part in the county seat where the College is located and see if a settlement can be reached. Having pictures or proof of purchase of the items lost/stolen will help your case as you carry the burden of proving you even owned the property you allege was stolen. Roommates be helpful if willing to appear on your behalf.

By all means file a police report with both campus security and the municipal police if you have not done so already.

The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice upon which you may rely as I have not been retained for this purpose.



I'm the one who originally posted this question. Thanks for the relatively detailed answer, but to further elucidate on the situation and a few more general questions... I had about $400 worth of stuff stolen; I'm just staying on campus for summer housing as a TCNJ employee and I already graduated in May 2012, which makes having renter's insurance pointless because I never had it and to get it now, the grace period before it would be effective, even if I purchased some just for Summer housing, is a year and it wouldn't help me out at this point of time; about how much would these 'gross limits' be for how much I can receive?; even though I understand that, by policy, TCNJ is not responsible, don't they still share some responsibility since they basically threw my stuff out to the wolves by unlocking all the doors with no notification to residents that this would be happening? It's almost as if they set me up for failure at that point and I find it hard to believe that I would still be responsible for this..