$500 Billion Isn’t A Reasonable Amount To Sue For When Your Car Gets Towed

We have no doubt it is very upsetting to have your car towed and then find out said car is nowhere to be found. But suing the city for $500 billion in damages isn’t going to help you out, especially if it’s a handwritten demand.

A federal magistrate recommended on Monday that a woman’s lawsuit against Columbus, Ohio should be thrown out, reports TheNewspaper.com. Apparently the city had impounded the vehicle in January, while the woman was in the hospital recovering from a traffic accident. While she was hospitalized, she never received a notification about the status of her car, she claims.

When she was released and went to the impound lot to see about her car, she says she was given the run around, and no car. Her suit claims the city sold her car and that it holds a grudge against her.

“Plaintiff has and continues to have issues with the impound unit and thus would like to permanently restrain and grant an injunction on defendants and its officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys from any further action resulting to any action with plaintiff,” she wrote in her complaint.

Because she wasn’t given notice, the woman claimed that act was a violation of her due process rights, but that didn’t help her case.

“In this case, the undersigned finds that plaintiff fails to state a facially plausible federal claim,” the US Magistrate explained. “Plaintiff first attempts to a bring claim under the Fourth Amendment for unlawful seizure. From the facts plaintiff pleads, however, it appears that the seizure of her vehicle was proper. As both the Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have held ‘[t]he authority of police to seize and remove from the streets vehicles impeding traffic or threatening public safety and convenience is beyond challenge.'”

And if the city didn’t return a car, as long as it was seized for a legitimate reason, the magistrate said that’s okay, too, at least constitution-wise, as “Plaintiff’s interest in regaining her vehicle, however, is outside the scope of the Fourth Amendment…”

The judge recommended dismissal because no pattern of misconduct had been established.

Meanwhile, did that car just disappear into thin air? That’s what we want to know.

Ohio: Federal Court Says City Can Keep Seize Cars [TheNewspaper.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Dr. Evil has nothing on this woman.

  2. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    This woman makes (former judge) Roy Pearson Jr. look like an amateur.


  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Lady, get an attorney who knows what he/she is doing, and you might actually win. Maybe not $500 billion, but something legitimate.

  4. u1itn0w2day says:

    You go high and I go low. I think scareface said something to that effect.

  5. RandomLetters says:

    I would be on this lady’s side but for the $500 billion. It’s one lost car. Be realistic, ask for just $500 million.

  6. chiieddy says:

    Likely the car sat unclaimed and the city sent notices, but because she wasn’t home to sign, she never got them. Once 30 days (or whatever) passed, the city sold the vehicle at auction. This happened to my husband in Boston years ago. Because they sold the car without him having received the certified letter, he was given the proceeds of the auction in full, which was used to pay off the impound. He came out ahead. The truck was non-operational and he got more from the city auction then he would have from a private sale on a non-operational truck.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If it was non-operational, he should have just done the auction beforehand and not had to pay the impound fees, lol.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Sounds like the impound fees were waived (proceeds in full due to lack of notice).

    • Lyn Torden says:

      IMHO, cities should not be allowed to sell off cars that are obtained from accident scenes. There are multiple reasons for this. Not only is there a possibility of the owner being in the hospital (they can check on this, since they should know the car was an accident car), but there is also a possibility the car may be needed for legal evidence in a coming court case.

      In general they need to do a better job of making sure people are properly notified. But when it’s a case of an accident that puts someone in the hospital, that 30 day period should not be allowed to start until after they are out of the hospital.

      And in all cases where it does go to auction, they should get the money leftover from the auction after city costs are deducted.

  7. Coffee says:

    Can I sue Consumerist for $500 billion for breaking the comment sys-…er…hello there…guess it’s working now. And I can edit them! Thanks!

  8. Bsamm09 says:

    That must have been a sweet car.

  9. who? says:

    A friend was on jury duty last week. Some guy was suing the city for wrongful termination. However, instead of just arguing the merits of his particular wrongful termination case, which he could probably have won, he sued the city for violating his constitutional rights, which apparently required him to prove that the city had a pattern of violating everyone’s rights. The guy wasn’t able to even come close to doing that, and lost everything.

    The woman might have a reasonable case regarding her own particular car, but completely botched it by overreaching.

  10. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    Grandson: “Gramma, can I please have some money?”
    Me: “Okay, how much?”
    Grandson: ” A million gazillion dollars!”
    Me; “Gee, I don’t have that much — how about a dollar?”
    Grandson: “Okay.”

    Like that

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Plaintiff’s Complaint also contains references to human trafficking and musicians
    Shawn Carter (“Jay-Z”) and Sean Combs (“P. Diddy”). Although Plaintiff believes that these
    musicians may be involved in the seizure of her vehicle, these allegations do not support her
    attempt to state a facially plausible claim.


  12. Sarek says:

    What kind of lawyer would take such a ridiculous case. Since there was zero chance of winning, how would he get paid?

    The only tort reform I would support is sanctioning attorneys who take such stupid cases.

    • Kitamura says:

      Probably by negotiating pay beforehand, not all lawyers work on a contingency basis.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Dollars to donuts she’s pro se (i.e. no lawyer). She got a filing few waiver, claiming she couldn’t afford it.

  13. Buckus says:

    This seems totally reasonable to me…

  14. PSUSkier says:

    Who can blame her though? I mean, I’m guessing she learned from Congresses’ standard operating procedure of asking for the world and watch it get whittled down to what they want or better.

  15. RandomHookup says:

    It should be higher?

  16. Hungry Dog says:

    I don’t see a issue with this. I sued for a grillion dollars when my job in the military hurt my feelings.

  17. phil says:

    After we get past the “crazy person” aspect of the story…

    So: A Federal magistrate says a city doesn’t have to return a vehicle to its rightful owner after an accident.

    Really, what’s the legal reasoning here? Am I the only one who finds this troubling?

    Who decides what is a “legitimate reason” to take away my car?

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      The complaint went to the wrong court. She bypassed lower relevant courts and went to a federal court arguing that her 4th Amendment rights were violated. The federal court said that they were not and that this was not a constitutional rights issue.

  18. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The complaint went to the wrong court. She bypassed lower relevant courts and went to a federal court arguing that her 4th Amendment rights were violated. The federal court said that they were not and that this was not a constitutional rights issue.

  19. Emerson7 says:

    Those impound people are bastards, partially made that way by the citizens they deal with all day. It’s a vicious circle of losing.