If a dry cleaners ruins a garment, how much can they be held liable for?

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2015

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If a dry cleaners ruins a garment, how much can they be held liable for?

My sister recently had her wedding, during which her wedding dress train became dirty. After the wedding her dress was sent to a dry cleaner to be cleaned and came back an entire different beige color. The dress changing from white to a burnt beige is now ruined. The dress is a $6000 designer dress, which was previously used once when my sister paid $3500 for it. Can the dry cleaner be sued for a fair market resale price of $2000-3500?

Asked on June 17, 2015 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If someone damages or destroys property of another through negligence (carelessness), he or she can potentially be held liable for the then current fair market value of the property; based on what you write, that would be between $2,000 - $3,500, assuming your sister could show that (such as by showing advertisements for comparable dresses).

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