Judge orders towing company to pay OOIDA almost $40,000 in damages

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 1/6/2017

A West Virginia Circuit Court judge recently ordered a tow company to pay the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association almost $40,000 in damages and attorney fees stemming from inflated towing charges in 2014.

Judge Robert Irons of Summers County, W.Va., ruled that Anthony’s Truck Repair in West Virginia must pay OOIDA $34,895.71 for negligent acts and omissions, $4,615.50 for attorneys’ fees, and $205 for the cost of filing the lawsuit.

“It’s good to have a judgment like this in our favor,” OOIDA Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek said.

In July 2014, OOIDA Life Member Ysabel Luna was hauling garage door panels south along a sharp uphill curve on Route 20 in West Virginia when the passenger-side tires of his trailer went in the ditch. Luna considered the incident to be relatively minor and believed he could get the trailer out with the help of another bobtail. Instead, Anthony’s Truck Repair was called to the scene without his consent.

Luna claimed that Anthony’s proceeded to use multiple wreckers and caused damage to the product.

OOIDA, which insures Luna, received an invoice for more than $30,000. Among the charges was $1,080 for traffic control and flaggers even though the Green Sulphur District Fire Department did all of the traffic control, the complaint said.

In December 2015, the West Virginia Public Service Commission recommended that Anthony’s pay OOIDA a refund of $10,067.

After Anthony’s failed to pay the refund, the West Virginia Public Commission ordered in June 2016 that the company’s third-party towing privileges be revoked. OOIDA opted to file a lawsuit for the full refund and damages of $45,000.

When OOIDA received the $10,067 from Anthony’s in September 2016, the Association amended its lawsuit in pursuit of almost $35,000.

The judge awarded the full amount, which totaled $39,716.21 with attorney and filing fees.

Matousek said Luna is filing a separate lawsuit against Anthony’s, seeking damages for lost loads.

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