The temporary placement of control over, or possession of Personal
Property by one person, the bailor, into the hands of another, the
bailee, for a designated purpose upon which the parties have
agreed. The term bailment is derived from the French bailor , "to
deliver." It is generally considered to be a contractual relationship
since the bailor and bailee, either expressly or impliedly, bind
themselves to act according to particular terms. The bailee
receives only control or possession of the property while the bailor
retains the ownership interests in it. During the specific period a
bailment exists, the bailee's interest in the property is superior to
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A bailment for the mutual benefit of the parties is created when
there is an exchange of performances between the parties. A
bailment for the repair of an item is a bailment for mutual benefit
when the bailee receives a fee in exchange for his or her work.
A bailor receives the sole benefit from a bailment when a bailee
acts gratuitously—for example, if a restaurant, a bailee, provides
an attended coatroom free of charge to its customers, the bailors.
By virtue of the terms of the bailment, the bailee agrees to act
without any expectation of compensation. A bailment is created for
the sole benefit of the bailee when both parties agree the property
temporarily in the bailee's custody is to be used to his or her own
advantage without giving anything to the bailor in return. The loan
of a book from a library is a bailment for the sole benefit of the
Three elements are generally necessary for the existence of a
bailment: delivery, acceptance, and consideration.
Actual possession of or control over property must be delivered to
a bailee in order to create a bailment. The delivery of actual
possession of an item allows the bailee to accomplish his or her
duties toward the property without the interference of others.
Control over property is not necessarily the same as physical
custody of it but, rather, is a type of constructive delivery. The
bailor gives the bailee the means of access to taking custody of it,
without its actual delivery. The law construes such action as the
equivalent of the physical transfer of the item. The delivery of the
keys to a safe-deposit box is constructive delivery of its contents.
A requisite to the creation of a bailment is the express or implied
acceptance of possession of or control over the property by the
bailee. A person cannot unwittingly become a bailee. Because a
bailment is a contract, knowledge and acceptance of its terms are
essential to its enforcement.
Consideration, the exchange of something of value, must be
present for a bailment to exist. Unlike the consideration required
for most contracts, as long as one party gives up something of
value, such action is regarded as good consideration. It is
sufficient that the bailor suffer loss of use of the property by
relinquishing its control to the bailee; the bailor has given up
something of value—the immediate right to control the property.
Rights and Liabilities
The bailment contract embodying general principles of the law of
bailments governs the...