A legal relationship created when a person gives property to someone else for safekeeping. To create a bailment the other party must knowingly have exclusive control over the property. The receiver must use reasonable care to protect the property.
This word is derived from the French, bailler, to deliver. It is a compendious expression, to signify a contract resulting from delivery. It has been defined to be a delivery of goods on a condition, express or implied, that they shall be restored by the bailee to the bailor, or according to his directions, as soon as the purposes for which they are bailed shall be answered. Or it is a delivery of goods in trust, on a contract either expressed or implied, that the trust shall be duly executed, and the goods redelivered, as soon as the time or use for which they were bailed shall have elapsed or be performed.
Each of these definitions, says Judge Story, seems redundant and inaccurate if it be the proper office of a definition to include those things only which belong to the genus or class. Both these definitions suppose that the goods are to be restored or redelivered; but in a bailment for sale, as upon a consignment to a factor, no redelivery is contemplated between the parties. In some cases, no use is contemplated by the bailee, in others, it is of the essence of the contract: in some cases time is material to terminAte the contract; in others, time is necessary to give a new accessorial right.
Mr. Justice Blackstone has defined a bailment to be a delivery of goods in trust, upon contract, either expressed or implied, that the trust shall be faithfully executed on the part of the bailee. And in another place, as the delivery of goods to another person for a particular use.
Mr. Justice Story says, that a bailment is a delivery of a thing in trust for some special object or purpose, and upon a contract, express or implied, to conform to the object or purpose of the trust.
Bailments are divisible into three kinds: 1. Those in which the trust is for the benefit of the bailor, as deposits and mandates. 2. Those in which the trust is for the benefit of the bailee, as gratuitous loans for use. 3. Those in which the trust is for the benefit of both parties, as pledges or pawns, and hiring and letting to hire.
Some have divided bailments into five sorts, namely: 1. Depositum, or deposit. 2. Mandatum, or commission without recompense. 3. Commodatum, or loan for use, without pay. 4. Pignori acceptum, or pawn. 5. Locatum, or hiring, which is always with reward. This last is subdivided into, 1. Locatio rei, or biring, by which the hirer gains a temporary use of the thing. 2. Locatio operis faciendi, when something is to be done to the thing delivered. 3. Locatio operis mercium vehendarum, when the thing is merely to be carried from one place to another.