compensation and damages

Sailor’s Big Payout from Storage Unit Incident

Sailor’s Big Payout from Storage Unit Incident

A Navy commander recently lost a majority of her possessions while she was stationed overseas. In a big settlement, she received six-figures in compensation and damages when her storage company sold off her items. This incident has alerted military agencies and spurred all branches to stake steps to prevent such incidents.

Commander Wilma Roberts was initially sent for a two year tour of duty to Okinawa, Japan in 2008. She was initially set to return in June of 2010 but when her stay was extended, a storm of factors resulted in her belongings being sold off at an auction. During this time, the Navy had stored all of her belongings with Wisconsin-based storage company Chip Express. Upon the extension, the Navy decided to stop paying for storage and informed Chip Express they were no longer responsible for the payments.

After being informed of the change, Chip Express sent the bills to Roberts. However, the mail was sent to an outdated dress. The Navy allowed Chip Express them to dispose of Roberts’ goods when the bills were returned to the sender. Commander Roberts’ goods—photos, three china cabinets and the accompanying china goods, leather coats, various furniture—were valued at $65,000 but auctioned off at a paltry $2,101 to a local resident.

Chip Express violated the law by selling a serve member’s possessions without court Order. This Servicemember’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provision has been law for years. According to Pentagon legal assistance officials, this type of incident have been on the rise in recent years. In 2012, additional claims were brought against three different storage companies for selling off service members’ goods without court order as well. Both Roberts and the military agree that change to the system is needed. In response, the military’s legal assistance offices have issued guidance to the troops and transportation offices.