Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tow Victim Wins $5700 Statutory Hearing Judgement Even With Vehicle Released at No Charge

The latest victim of predatory towing in Dallas County, towed from an apartment complex while visiting a relative, scored a big win for $5689.36.  The victim, who asked not be named, in fear his relative would be evicted, produced a video detailing 7 statutory violations of the Texas Towing Law within the parking facility, obtained several recorded conversations with the property manager, maintenance staff and employees of the towing company.  The victim's wife had urged him to drop the issue, since their vehicle was released at no charge.  But the violations were obvious, others were being towed that didn't get their vehicles back for free and the victim knew several of those towed.

In all, there had been 138 vehicles reported to the Dallas Police Department by the towing company as being towed from this location since October 1, 2013. This was according to the Open Records Request submitted to obtain the total number, which was used to prove "recklessly", to which the Judge agreed.

So, during the testimony and after submitting all the evidence gathered by the victim, the Judge found the property supervisor who signed the tow agreement guilty on 5 violation counts.  The folks from the apartment complex and management company appeared stunned and looked over at their towing company representative.  All along the property manager kept denying everything until the recorded conversations were played in Court.  Then the Judge reminded her that she was under oath, even though she was caught in a lie about receiving something of value.

Our good Judge who upholds the Towing Law as written found them guilty and ordered them to pay the victim $1000 for each of the 5 violations plus the costs to repair his vehicle after the tow truck operator slim jimmed his door disabling the window switch inside the door panel.

So, this proves, even if your vehicle is released for free, or your charged a drop fee, or you have to pay it out at the storage facility, the parking facility is liable for any number of violations within the parking lots vehicles are being towed from, regardless the reason the vehicle is being towed.

Don't waste your time with a tow hearing, go after the parking facility with a statutory violation hearing, there is no deadline for filing as with a tow hearing.

Sec. 2308.404. Civil Liability of Towing Company, Booting Company, or Parking Facility Owner for Violation of Chapter.
(a) A towing company, booting company, or parking facility owner who violates this chapter is liable to the owner or operator of the vehicle that is the subject of the violation for:
(1) damages arising from the removal, storage, or booting of the vehicle; and
(2) towing, storage, or booting fees assessed in connection with the vehicle's removal, storage, or booting.
(b) A vehicle's owner or operator is not required to prove negligence of a parking facility owner, towing company, or booting company to recover under Subsection (a).
(c) A towing company, booting company, or parking facility owner who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly violates this chapter is liable to the owner or operator of the vehicle that is the subject of the violation for $1,000 plus three times the amount of fees assessed in the vehicle's removal, towing, storage, or booting.

Just think, pay a $100 boot or drop fee at some parking lot and walk away with no more than $10K with documented violations within the parking facility.  They key is not to list the towing company when filing against the parking facility.  After the parking facility is found guilty, file another statutory hearing against the towing company to collect from them, the same judgment amount against the parking facility.

This victim had an attorney representing him, as is recommended in any court proceeding, although you are not required to have an attorney.

Either way, the victim and his wife were quite pleased on the outcome, for their inconvenience that night his illegal towing incident occurred.