January 18, 2023
The New Jersey Law Journal article “Where’s my Car? Litigation Surges as Auto-Finance Companies Sue Over Towing,” discusses the growing number of impound suits against local governments and references Norris McLaughlin Member Nicholas Duston’s work on these matters on behalf of lenders.
The article covers how owners of towed vehicles often have auto loans with payments remaining. If the owners fail to retrieve their vehicle and later default on the loan, the lenders are presented with huge bills for towing and storage when attempting to repossess the vehicles. Several of Duston’s suits were referenced, including a January 11 filing in New Jersey and pending suits in New York.
Duston has also written about this issue and has noted that in many places around the country, statutes and rules remain on the books that prevent all the appropriate parties from being notified when a vehicle is impounded. When a vehicle loan is involved, the bank that holds the auto loan is definitely a party that should be notified, citing the 2008 Clement v. City of Glendale ruling as an example of due process and vehicle towing.