lot. The Court held that "whether to provide security guards, parking attendants, security gates, and the numbers thereof, are clearly discretionary decisions partially based upon budgetary limitations controlled by the Legislature". Id at 1382.
In the case now before this Court the plaintiff's claim that the government was negligent in not providing security is identical to the claims made by the plaintiffs in Turner and Relyea. And, as the courts did in Turner and Relyea here too the plaintiff's claim is barred by the discretionary function exemption.
In this case there are only a limited number of guards available for weekend duty at the GPO facility. Therefore, in the interests of efficiency, only one police officer was assigned, as a "roving patrol", to monitor all the parking lots. Declaration of Robert Blaney, Deputy Director of Security Service, U.S. Government Printing Office.
Under the "discretionary function" exemption as enunciated in Dalehite, Taxay, and Turner the GPO's decision to assign only one officer to patrol the parking lots on weekends was beyond question an executive decision, thus discretionary, and, as such, cannot be the grounds for a suit under the FTCA.
PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR A PARKING SPACE CREATED A LICENSE NOT A CONTRACT
The parties disagree whether plaintiff's application for a parking space created a bailment contract (Plaintiff's Opposition, p. 3) or merely a license (Defendant's Reply, p. 2).
Again, the material facts are not in dispute. All that remains is the question of law that this Court can and will decide. See International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Inc. v. National Right To Work Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., 781 F.2d 928 (D.C. Cir. 1986). ("Summary judgment is proper if no genuine issue as to a material fact remains." Id. at 932)
The procedure in the GPO parking lots is that the driver park his car, lock it (if he wishes), and retain possession of his car keys. Such "park and lock" arrangements create either lease or license relationships. Plaintiff's contention that his application for a parking space created a bailment contract is incorrect. Sarbov Parking Corporation v. Motors Insurance Corporation, 255 A.2d 112, 113 (D.C. App. 1969) ("In most cases [park and lock arrangements] [are] held not to create a bailment. Rather, these factors are thought to create either a lease or license relationship". Id. at 113.)
PLAINTIFF IS BOUND BY THE DAMAGE LIABILITY RELEASE IN THE PARKING APPLICATION
The application for a parking space submitted by the plaintiff contains a provision releasing the government from all liability from damage while the car was on the lot. The provision is set out in full in the margin.
This release was not buried in paragraphs of boilerplate, printed in type virtually unreadable by the naked eye, or phrased in language comprehensible only to law school deans. Anyone who read it would understand it. It appears immediately above the line for the applicant's signature. It is only reasonable to assume the applicant read, understood, and accepted this clause. Absent gross negligence, fraud, or willful acts (none of which occurred or are alleged to have occurred) such limitations of liability are routinely enforced, when, as here, the bailor knew of them. Lucas v. Auto City Parking, 62 A.2d 557 (D.C. App. 1948) (Plaintiff whose medical bag was stolen from car parked on defendant's lot held bound by sign reading "COMPANY NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ARTICLES LEFT IN CAR".); Houston v. Security Storage Company of Washington, 474 A.2d 143, 144 (D.C. App. 1984).
Consequently, the government's disclaimer of liability is valid and the plaintiff's contract claim, foreclosed.
For the reasons set forth herein, defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiff's claims sounding in tort and in contract will be granted.
An order in accordance with the foregoing will be issued of even date herewith.
CHARLES R. RICHEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
For the reasons set forth in the Court's opinion of this date, it is, by the Court, this 6th day of February, 1986,
ORDERED, that the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to each claim sounding in tort and contract shall be, and hereby is, granted, and it is
FURTHER ORDERED, that this case shall stand dismissed from the docket of this Court, with costs in favor of the defendant.