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SPARROW v. AIRPORT PARKING COMPANY AMERICA (03/24/72)

decided: March 24, 1972.

SPARROW, APPELLANT,
v.
AIRPORT PARKING COMPANY OF AMERICA



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Oct. T., 1969, No. 3615, in case of Robert S. Sparrow v. Airport Parking Company of America.

COUNSEL

Leonard S. Wissow, with him Wissow and Odza, for appellant.

Austin Hogan, with him Krusen, Evans and Byrne, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 34]

This is an appeal from the lower court's entrance of summary judgment in favor of appellee Airport Parking Company of America.

The facts, as set forth in the pleadings and in an affidavit submitted by appellee, are as follows:

On December 3, 1968, appellant drove his automobile into Philadelphia International Airport's public parking lot which is leased and operated by appellee. In order to obtain entry to the lot, appellant took a claim check from an automatic vending machine at the lot's entrance. This claim check was stamped with the date and time of entry and contained the following statement: "[t]his ticket must be presented to identify car."

Upon the vending machine's release of the ticket, a gate opened permitting the appellant's automobile to enter the parking lot. No employee of appellee was present at the entrance gate. Appellant then selected his own parking space as required by the appellee, locked his car, and took the keys. On December 11, 1968, appellant returned for his automobile and discovered that it was missing from the lot. Appellee was unable to produce appellant's car or explain the circumstances of its loss.

Appellee's parking lot is completely enclosed by a fence, and the exits from the lot are controlled by appellee's employees. These attendants take the claim checks from patrons, compute the amount owed, and accept payment. If the driver of a vehicle seeking exit cannot provide the ticket received upon entry, appellant claims that the attendant has been instructed to obtain proof of ownership of the vehicle before allowing it to pass.

Appellant contends on appeal that the entrance of summary judgment by the lower court was error for

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 35]

    the following reasons: (1) the relationship between the parties was that of bailee and bailor, the bailor having the duty to exercise reasonable care to safeguard the bailee's property; (2) a term of the implied contract between the parties obligated appellee to exercise care to protect appellant's automobile from theft, and (3) a parking lot licensee is liable for the negligence of its employees under § 9-601 (2) (l) of the Philadelphia Code, as amended, 1956 Ordinances p. 769. We will consider appellant's claims separately.

I

Appellant argues that the appellee has the right to prevent anyone, including the owner, from leaving the parking lot without the presentation of the claim check. This, according to appellant, is indicative of appellant's "relinquishment, for a time, of his exclusive possession, control, and dominion over the property" to appellee. 8 Am. Jur. 2d, Bailments, § 20 (1963). Such a relinquishment of dominion, if it occurred, ...


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