Altercation with car repossessor was in self-defense, defendant answers

Christina Stueve Hodges Sep. 5, 2012, 11:15am


In its response to a wrongful repossession and personal injury lawsuit, a Granite City company claims any physical contact between a Jefferson County, Mo. man and any individual defendant "was incidental or in self-defense."

Plaintiffs Todd and Stacey Hindrichs filed a lawsuit against United Repossessors Inc. (URI) of Granite City in June, alleging wrongful repossession of their 2005 Jeep Cherokee at their Missouri home in February.

According to the complaint, the Hindrichses were at home when a female URI employee began to repossess their 2005 Jeep Cherokee.

The suit says that Todd Hindrichs took the car off the property, but that URI employees tried to stop him. Todd Hindrichs drove out of his subdivision and was followed by the tow truck, the suit says.

Another URI employee, driving a white Chevy Tahoe, joined the pursuit, according to the complaint.

The driver of the Tahoe allegedly opened the door of the Jeep and threw Todd Hindrichs to the ground. While the third URI employee allegedly held him at bay with threats of violence, Todd Hindrichs claims his Jeep was loaded onto the tow truck and taken away. He called police to file a report. The next day, he drove to URI's Granite City tow lot to retrieve the Jeep.

United Repossessors removed the case to federal court July 25, arguing the allegations involve citizens of different states, which entitles it to removal.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon remanded the case to Madison County Aug. 14.

In his remand order, Herndon stated that complete diversity of citizenship does not exist among parties.

The Hindrichsed accuse TD Finance and URI and its employees of violating the Uniform Commercial Code for wrongfully taking their car.

URI answered the complaint Aug. 22, stating that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that it should be dismissed.

Without waiving the general denial, URI states that if the plaintiffs sustained any injuries, which it denies, then such injuries or damages were caused by the conduct, acts, negligence or activities of the plaintiffs.

Michael E. Bub and D. Keith Henson of St. Louis represent United Repossessors.

Attorneys Eric Evans of Granite City and Jason A. Charpentier of St. Louis represent the Hindrichses.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-767

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