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Velvet

Legal question.

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haha - just had this discussion over the weekend at a wedding. Short answer: No.

Of course this doesn't apply to anyone who willfully breaks something.

I found it it's called "The Pottery Barn Rule" too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottery_Barn_rule

A quick search found an article about that very question.

http://legallad.quickanddirtytips.com/you-break-it-you-buy-it-law.aspx

Then again, I'm no contract lawyer, so perhaps I'm entirely wrong.

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It seems to me people are under a duty not to do harm or cause damage/loss to others. If someone's action or omission causes such a loss by damaging another's property, subject to some statutory exclusion or other liability defence, it seems to me that such a person would then be liable to make that other person "whole", by compensating for the loss/damage.

The argument, presumably, would then be the replacement value of the property destroyed, but I would think liability would be pretty clear. I also suspect that the offering-price for the brand new object, i.e. the one at the store where the damage was done, would be pretty good evidence of the replacement value; i.e. damages owing.

Edited by Guest

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It seems to me people are under a duty not to do harm ...

but are they legally required to pay for accidental damage? and what if the store is so jampacked that only eastern european supermodels could walk down the aisles without knocking stuff over?

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This is all pretty hypothetical, and I should say that I am not commenting on any known set of facts or how it would apply in any particular jurisdiction, so this is not to be relied upon for legal advice, but with that disclaimer:

The word "accident" is unusual at law. If you are saying that it was an "inevitable accident", then that is a defence. The most typical example of an "inevitable accident" is a car-accident due to black ice.

Your second suggested scenario seems to involve over-crowding. That could mean there is a third party claim to be made against whomever (presumably) jostled the person who broke the object, by that person. There would also be a likely claim against whomever controls the store, for "contributory negligence" in allowing the place to be overcrowded, leading to a hazard, leading to the incident that caused the loss.

Simple stuff, really.

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Thanks SM for your detailed and informed opinion, and thanks again Esau for the links.

There's a guitar that came into the OFC that has a price tag of $24,000 on it. They are careful of who they let play it. I jokingly suggested that they put up a YBIYBI sign and let everybody try it out. It would seem to me that it's a playable work of art and it would further seem to me that any noticable mark inadvertently made on it would make it unsellable and would thereby move that six-string right off the shelf.

I reiterate it was a joke and not a sales strategy! It did however lead me to ponder and thought I'd post here to see what would turn up.

Also, and more practically, I was wondering what my liability would be if I tried it out and somehow damaged it.

Bottom line: I'm not gonna try it out, and it seems that OFC is smart to have thw guitar in a locked display case.

Edited by Guest

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what the hell kind of guitar is worth $24,000??

ps, i dont know why, but i am reminded of a trip to the national art gallery decades ago when the guard chewed us out for almost sitting on the warhol brillo pad boxes in the middle of the room ... who woulda thunk it was valuable art.

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