Morris v CW Martin & Sons Ltd [1966] 1 QB 716

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  • Morris had her mink coat drycleaned, at which time the drycleaner stole the coat
  • She sued, but the drycleaner said they had taken all reasonable care to look after the coat and should not be held responsible
  • Could the drycleaners be held responsible for the theft of an item by their staff?
  • Yes

“From all these instances we may deduce the general proposition that when a principal has in his charge the goods or belongings of another in such circumstances that he is under a duty to take all reasonable precautions to protect them from theft or depredation, then if he entrusts that duty to a servant or agent, he is answerable for the manner in which that servant or agent carries out his duty. If the servant or agent is careless so that they are stolen by a stranger, the master is liable.”

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