STORAGE AND HAULING COMPANIES TAKE NOTE

Imagine that it’s Spring 2020 and you run a warehousing company, in which it is common for your customers to store container-loads of goods in both the short-term (while awaiting a move to the container’s next destination) and long-term (perhaps while the entity holding title to the goods in the container finds a buyer). Now imagine you discover that your warehouse contains containers of goods that could help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus — masks, medical gowns, gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Or imagine this slightly different scenario: You own a trucking company and learn that your drivers are delivering pallets of hand sanitizer and disinfectants to a residential address. Perhaps they have delivered several pallets in a single delivery, or they are repeatedly bringing goods to the same place.

What, if any, obligations might you have in these scenarios? And importantly, what, if any, liability might you have if it turns out a customer is hoarding PPE?

Reprinted with permission from Law Journal Newsletters, May/2020

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