Procedural Posture

Plaintiff guest appealed ajudgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County (Cal.), which sustained defendant hotel’s demurrer to plaintiff’s cause of action that alleged negligence and breach of contract, on the grounds that plaintiff’s action was not filed before expiration of the statute of limitations for conversion or recovery actions, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §341(a).

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Overview

Plaintiff guest filed an action that alleged negligence and breach of contract after her luggage was stolen from defendant hotel. The trial court sustained defendant’s demurrer, and plaintiff appealed. The court reversed and held that plaintiff’s action was timely filed. Plaintiff’s action was not for “recovery” or “conversion,” but for negligence and breach of contract. The applicable statutes of limitations were the three-year limitations period for negligence resulting in damage to property, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §338(c), and the two-year period of Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §339(1), for an action upon an agreement not founded upon an instrument in writing. If the Legislature intended for all actions against a hotelkeeper to be subject to the 90-day statute of limitations in Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §341(a), it would have so stated.

Outcome

Judgment sustaining defendant hotel’s demurrer was reversed because plaintiff guest’s action was not for the recovery or conversion of personal property; thus, the statute of limitations for those actions did not apply to her.