Monday, September 26, 2011

Appeals court in Norfolk backs sailors in towing case | |

Appeals court in Norfolk backs sailors in towing case | |

A federal appeals court has ruled that the government has the right to sue on behalf of service members whose vehicles were towed and sold while they were deployed.

The U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of a Navy sailor, sued Aristocrat Towing of Norfolk alleging that the company illegally towed the sailor's car and sold it within a month to pay a storage lien. The government now believes Aristocrat did the same thing to at least 20 service members, according to the lawsuit.

When Navy Lt. Yahya Jaboori returned from the Iraq war in late 2007, he discovered his car was missing from his condominium complex in Virginia Beach. He later learned it had been towed by Aristocrat and auctioned in less than 60 days, without a court order.

U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar said in an earlier ruling that service members shouldn't have to worry about their personal property when serving their country.

"In war, a person facing an enemy must be able to focus on accomplishing the task at hand," Doumar wrote. "This is difficult if the individual is more concerned about what happened to his or her automobile."

In a ruling Monday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, rejecting Aristocrat's attempt to have the case thrown out. It sent the matter back to Norfolk for trial, now scheduled for December.

At the time the suit was filed nearly three years ago, it was believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. A similar suit is pending in the Newport News federal court, but in that case the sailor hired his own attorney.

Tim McGlone, (757) 446-2343,


Towing and Recovery said...

Nice story, thanks for sharing, keep it up. Got some good information here.

gooseneck hitches said...

The serving members are heroes in our society and their property should be handled with utmost care. I think Aristocrat rushed the sale.