[105 NJSuper Page 206] This is an action by plaintiff to recover the sum of $6,000, the agreed value of plaintiff's automobile,
which was not delivered to plaintiff upon demand after storage with defendant.
The parties have submitted this matter to the court without a jury upon an agreed stipulation of facts, which are as follows:
(1) Defendant is a New Jersey corporation which, during July 1967, was the owner and operator of certain motel premises known as the President Motel, located at Albany Avenue and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
(2) Defendant, in consideration of a stipend or fee paid to it, furnished lodgings, food, rooms and other accommodations to transients and travelers.
(3) On July 7, 1967 plaintiff, in consideration of a sum of money paid by him to defendant, requested of it a room in its premises, and on said date was accepted by defendant as a transient or guest in its motel premises.
(4) Plaintiff used as a means of transportation to defendant's motel a 1967 Cadillac sedan automobile. Upon arrival at the motel and upon being accepted by defendant as a guest, left his automobile, together with the keys permitting the operation thereof, with an employee and received as a receipt therefor a check or ticket.
(5) The automobile was then left with an employee of the defendant as aforesaid, parked or garaged by defendant, its servant or employee in the parking area of the motel.
(6) The parking area for guests of defendant in July 1967 was the ground level of its motel building. The area was surrounded by the structure on three sides, the only open portion thereof being the side abutting on Albany Avenue, from which access is made to the area. There was space for approximately 200 automobiles. The automobiles were parked in rows, in such manner that there were normally four aisles affording ingress and egress to and from Albany Avenue.
(7) Most of the guests' cars were parked by attendants, although guests who infrequently requested to park their own automobiles were permitted to do so. Whenever a guest
submitted his vehicle for parking he was issued a receipt, and before a guest's vehicle was returned to him he was required to produce and surrender that receipt.
(8) There was always at least one attendant on duty at the parking area throughout the night. During the day there were two to four attendants. Each midnight the attendant on duty parked and locked a car at the street end of each of the above-mentioned aisles in such manner as to block all exits from the area. The exits were kept blocked in that fashion until 8 A.M., unless it became necessary to move one of the locked cars in order to permit a guest's car to enter or leave the parking area.
(9) Defendant alleges that its parking area was well illuminated at night, that its attendants patrolled the parking area continuously so as to maintain surveillance of the vehicles parked therein, and that the attendants were supervised by the manager of the parking area and also by the desk clerk, the general manager and such other supervisory personnel as were on duty in or about the motel from time to time, all of which is denied by plaintiff.
(10) The parking facilities were furnished to plaintiff at no extra charge and as an accommodation to him.
(11) On July 8, 1967, when plaintiff requested the redelivery of his automobile, it could not be found, nor has it been found since. Neither of the parties has any knowledge or ...