Consignors seek to get items back from shuttered North Miami Beach store

'There's always a risk that you're going to lose it all,' law professor says

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Concerned consignors have been reaching out to the Leave It To Layron team ever since our first story aired about C. Madeleine's sudden closure. Those consignors all had the same question: How do I get my items back?

When the owners, Richard and Cindy Kirsh, closed the North Miami Beach vintage consignment store earlier this year, thousands of consigned items were packed up and taken to a storage facility in North Miami.

At the time, Richard Kirsh said he was looking for a new lease space for the store and planned to reopen within a matter of weeks. He recently admitted that is no longer the case.

He also said he is thousands of dollars behind on his storage bill after renting out 11 units to hold all of his consignors' merchandise. 

"Consignment doesn't transfer ownership to the store," said Nova Southeastern University law professor Ishaq Kundawala. "A consignor still has ownership of the item."

The LITL team showed Kundawala a copy of one of C. Madeleine's consignment agreements.

It's what was missing that stood out to Kundawala.

"[The contract] doesn't address what happens if the store closes down," said Kundawala, which he considered a breach of contract.

He said the quickest way C. Madeleine's consignors can try to reclaim their property is through a legal action for replevin.

"And all replevin means is you're trying to get something back from somebody who has your stuff, and they don't have a right to have your stuff anymore," Kundawala said.

Kundawala said it may also come down to consignors filing for injunctive relief or temporary restraining orders.

"That would prevent this consignment shop from selling, getting rid of, destroying any of these items before the consignors got their stuff back," Kundawala said.

But Kundawala said C. Madeleine's situation presents another complication.

The owners are, admittedly, behind on their storage bill.  We know 11 storage units were rented to hold all of the merchandise, and the facility could have a claim on what's inside those storage units.

"So, it's even more critical, now that C. Madeleine's is current on their payments to the storage facility," Kundawala said. "It might be a court order requiring the Kirshes to keep current on their storage facility, and once they did that, then the storage facility would have no choice but to open their doors to Mr. Kirsh." 

Kundawala hoped this real-life scenario is a lesson to anyone considering consignment.

"You may never see that item again, and you may never get paid on that item," he said. "It's a stark risk of giving your things over to someone else to sell. There's always a risk that you're going to lose it all."  

About the Author: