Ruling expected in 30 days in case against Caseyville towing company

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Nov 2, 2012

Madison County Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs is expected to make a ruling in an East Alton woman’s class action lawsuit against a Caseyville towing company in 30 days.

On Wednesday, attorneys argued a motion to dismiss in plaintiff Tiffany A. Craycraft’s case against Black Lane Auto Parts.

Craycraft claims the company towed her 2000 Ford Taurus from Highway 157 in Caseyville on April 11 without her consent. She seeks damage for alleged violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code under its Anti-Theft Law and Abandoned Vehicles chapter, as well as under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, because when she retrieved her vehicle, she claims she did not receive a detailed, signed receipt, showing the legal name of the towing service.

Plaintiff’s attorney Thomas Maag requested Stobbs deny the defense motion to dismiss, filed by Black Lane Auto Part’s attorney Thomas Frenkel.

Stobbs said he would have an order out in 30 days.

“The plaintiff’s vehicle was not creating a traffic hazard at the time it was towed," Maag said. "There has been no allegation about the appearance of my client’s vehicle."

“We’ve presented evidence the vehicle was not creating a traffic hazard."

Frenkel told Stobbs the plaintiff suffered no damages.

According to Frenkel, the plaintiff has argued that an appropriate waiting time for the tow was not allowed.

“My client took his direction from the police officers,” Frenkel said.

Court documents show Craycraft was arrested by Caseyville Police at 2:30 a.m., after she was observed disobeying a traffic light. By 8:30 a.m., she had retrieved her vehicle, Frenkel said.

Maag argued his client's vehicle was not creating a hazard.

“She paid for a service she didn’t want that was done in violation of the law," he said. "They violated the law. You should deny the defense motion to dismiss.”

According to Frenkel’s motion to dismiss, Craycraft's Ford Taurus was properly towed as the tow was ordered by the police from a public highway to a police impound lot.

“And because the tow was a police tow from a public highway, the Code’s receipt requirement, which applies only to towing or removal of a vehicle from private property, does not apply,” Frenkel said.

The plaintiff’s request for class certification should be denied because the plaintiff lacks standing, according to Frenkel’s motion.

“The documentation for the police tow is in the record," Frenkel said. "There is no unfair practice which could have ensued. The police were the authorized party to conduct the tow."

“All of the arguments by the defense are a complete red herring or are disputed facts,” Maag told Stobbs.

Madison County case number 12-L-641.

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