Can I sue a tow truck company for taking my cars on tag issues when they were waiting outside for a repossession? - Bankruptcy Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Can I sue a tow truck company for taking my cars on tag issues when they were waiting outside for a repossession?

My bankruptcy was completed in September of 2014. Two cars were included and were sitting waiting to be picked up. When they were gone, I thought they were reposed by the bank but I got a letter a month later stating this tow tuck driver picked them up for not having tags. Can I sue them for this?


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It?s hard to see why you would want to sue the tow truck company esp. if they had the legal right to two the vehicle(s). Is there a known cause of action here? Who violated your rights? What were your losses? It doesn't seem likely.

Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 1/11/2015

Answer By Ronald K. Nims

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The bank was notified of your bankruptcy, but it's unlikely that the company that tows unlicensed cars knew. I assume that they were on the street where the law requires that cars have current licenses. In addition to not being able to sue the towing company, you might be socked with a huge storage bill since the cars are still in your name.

Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/2/2015

Answer By Derek Freeman
Freeman Law Group, LLC
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Whether you have a case against the tow truck company depends on a couple things. First, did the tow truck company have some authority to take your cars? They were probably acting under the direction of the municipal authority, which means they did. You still own the cars, which means you're responsible for making sure you pay taxes on them. Your intent to surrender the vehicles in bankruptcy does not change the fact that you own the cars. Second, if the tow truck company didn't have the authority to take your cars, you still have to prove damages. (In reality, if they didn't have the authority to take the cars, they are guilty of a criminal offense. But for a civil suit, you still need to prove damages). If you weren't using the cars, and intended to surrender them to your lender anyway, you'll have a hard time proving damages. You will need to tell the bank about the situation and let them know the location of the cars. Let them deal with the tow truck company.

Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 12/30/2014

Answer By Janet Lawson
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
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Send the notice from the driver of the tow truck to the lenders on the cars - so they know where they can collect their collateral. Send the letter certified mail return receipt and keep a copy. I had a client who was once accused of stealing a vehicle the lender could not locate or account for.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/30/2014

Answer By J.M. Cook

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Anyone can sue anyone . . . but you will not win. Two real problems here: One, if they were towed by a towing company, the company must have had some color of authority to do so; meaning the police must have called them or they are contracted by the state in some manner to tow the vehicles. No tow truck company is randomly taking cars. That is called grand theft auto. Second, even if the cars were towed without authority,you have to show damages. What are your damages if the vehicles were surrendered and slated for repossession? The lender is the one with the property interest that was affected by the towing.

Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 12/30/2014

Answer By Darren Aronow
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
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No, I don't think so, it would have probably been a city/state contracted tow truck which are directed to remove vehicles without tags off the street.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/30/2014


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You should notify the bank and have them contact the towing company. Since the vehicles were surrendered in the bankruptcy any debts involving the vehicles have been discharged.

Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/29/2014

Answer By Daniel J Winter
Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
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Probably not. And, it's your responsibility to have tags on the vehicles as long as you own it.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 12/29/2014

Answer By James T. Weiner
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
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If they were not properly licensed with current tags at the time they are subject to towing if they were not parked on your property. So if they were parked in a street they are subject to towing from the municipality if they were parked in a parking lot they could be deemed abandoned by the owner of the lot and towed. The issue is did the city/local municipality delegate or assign this specific tow truck company its right to rid the streets of nuisance vehicles.or did the parking lot owner have the right to assume they were abandoned.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/29/2014


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More than likely the tow truck company was instructed to tow your vehicle by a police officer. Now if the tow truck company towed it on orders from a finance company that financed these cars and if the debt was discharged in bankruptcy then it has a legal problem. I do not believe that a tow truck company has a legal right to tow a vehicle just because the driver sees that the tag is out-of-date. If that is so, you should sue the tow truck company. But be aware that if a police officer had the car towed, then the tow truck company is telling you that it has a lien for the tow and storage and if you do not pay that sum and the daily charge that accrues daily, then it will sell your car to satisfy the storage fee. You should contact your bankruptcy attorney or any attorney to advise you in this matter. Good luck.

Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 12/29/2014

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