A person in lawful custody of seized property has a duty to take proper care of the property. If there is failure to exercise proper care then an action for abuse of process can be made. If a person having lawful custody of the seized property made loss or damage to the property by misuse or improper care he is guilty of the tort of abuse of process. Similarly an action for abuse of process will lie if the person failed to exercise diligence necessary for the protection and preservation of property.
The Snydacker v. Brosse [i] court held that if an officer abuses a process by an act not warranted by the process, the officer is responsible for the damages ensuing from his unlawful act. Similarly a sheriff who has property in his custody is liable for its loss if it is caused by failure to exercise reasonable care and diligence in preserving the property.[ii]
[i] 51 Ill. 357 (Ill. 1869)
[ii] Phillips v. Eggert, 145 Wis. 43 (Wis. 1911)