Former Sheriff Deputy’s Lawsuit Against Repo Company and Toyota Motor Credit

Adrian, MI – April 25, 2012 – On Monday in Lenawee County Circuit Court, a former sheriff deputy’s lawsuit against a repo man he blames for his firing was scheduled for trial in September next year during a hearing Monday. Toyota Motor Credit was also named claiming the repossession order from Toyota Motor Credit Corp. was improper. If held responsible, TMCC could be held responsible in court. The Repo owners insurance will not defense the claim.

A former sheriff deputy’s lawsuit against a repossession driver he blames for his firing was scheduled for trial in September next year during a hearing Monday in Lenawee County Circuit Court.

The suit filed last year by Daniel Rudd has grown to include claims, cross claims and counter claims among four businesses involved in a botched repossession of Rudd’s pickup at his Tipton-area home on Feb. 8, 2009.

Rudd was found not guilty of a felonious assault charge pressed by repossession driver Matthew Freeman of Monroe County. Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy P. Pickard ruled after a December 2009 trial that Rudd acted professionally while Freeman tried to provoke him while recording his own angry tirade on a cellular telephone.

Rudd was still fired from his sergeant position at the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department for violating department policies during the incident.

According to trial testimony, Rudd ran from his bedroom and pointed a handgun to stop what he thought was an auto theft. He put the gun away when Freeman identified himself and showed Rudd repossession papers. Rudd said he got in his Toyota Tundra to retrieve personal property. He said he put on the brakes when Freeman started to drive away. The pickup came off the tow lift and Freeman left the scene and called 911 to make a complaint against Rudd.

Rudd’s lawsuit claims Freeman acted illegally by “screaming at plaintiff” and continuing to repossess the truck “through continued invocation of offensive language, gestures, threats, intimidations and breaches of the peace.”

The suit also claims a repossession order from Toyota Motor Credit Corp. was improper.

A cross claim by Freeman’s attorney says if that is true, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. should be held responsible for all damages, along with the company that handled the repossession contract. Manheim Tennessee Inc. hired Freeman’s company, Professional Towing & Recovery LLC.

Freeman and Manheim Tennessee are also suing Freeman’s insurance company, Mid-Continent Casualty of Oklahoma, for not providing a defense in the lawsuit. The insurance company responded it does not cover claims for illegal repossession actions and job losses. It’s policy covers only damages from accidents and negligence, it said.

Freeman has denied Rudd’s allegations of breaching the peace and asserted the repossession had already been completed when Rudd confronted him.

Dates for proceeding with the case were set during a hearing Monday before Judge Margaret M.S. Noe. April 1 next year was set as the deadline for attorneys to complete their research. Case evaluation was set for July 2013 and a four-day trial is start on Sept. 10, 2013, if the case is not settled.

The suit filed last year by former sheriff deputy Daniel Rudd has grown to include claims, cross claims and counter claims among four businesses involved in an incident during the repossession of Rudd’s pickup at his home on Feb. 8, 2009.

Rudd was found not guilty of felonious assault charge pressed by repo man Matthew Freeman employed by Professional Towing & Recovery LLC. On an assignment forwarded by Manheim Tennessee Inc. Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy P. Pickard ruled after a December 2009 trial that Rudd acted professionally while Freeman tried to provoke him as evidenced by his own recorded angry tirade on a cellular telephone.

Regardless, Rudd was fired from his sergeant position in the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department for violating department policies during the incident.

According to trial testimony, that day Rudd ran from his bedroom and pointed a handgun to stop what he thought was an auto theft. He put the gun away when Freeman identified himself and showed Rudd repossession papers. Rudd claimed that he got in his Toyota Tundra to retrieve personal property. He testified that he put on the brakes when Freeman started to drive away. The pickup came off the tow lift and Freeman left the scene and called 911 to make a complaint against Rudd.

Rudd’s lawsuit claims Freeman acted illegally by “screaming at plaintiff” and continuing to repossess the truck “through continued invocation of offensive language, gestures, threats, intimidations and breaches of the peace.”

Toyota Motor Credit Corp., who assigned the account through Manheim Tennessee are being named in the suit claiming that the repossession order from was improper.

A cross claim by Freeman’s attorney says if that is true, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. should be held responsible for all damages, along with the company that handled the repossession contract. Manheim Tennessee Inc. hired Freeman’s company, Professional Towing & Recovery LLC.

Freeman and Manheim Tennessee are also suing Freeman’s insurance company, Mid-Continent Casualty of Oklahoma, for not providing a defense in the lawsuit. The insurance company responded it does not cover claims for illegal repossession actions and job losses. It’s policy covers only damages from accidents and negligence.

Freeman has denied Rudd’s allegations of breaching the peace and asserted the repossession had already been completed when Rudd confronted him.

Judge Margaret M.S. Noe set April 1 next year was set as the deadline for attorneys to complete their research and a four-day trial is start on Sept. 10, 2013, if the case is not settled.

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7 thoughts on “Former Sheriff Deputy’s Lawsuit Against Repo Company and Toyota Motor Credit

  1. I had kind of the same incident in Michigan and am looking to find an attorney who will sue the repossession agency over a breach of peace. My car was parked behind my closed gate the agents opened my gate, started to back up into my driveway when I ran out got in the vehicle and drove into my garage. As I started to close my garage the 2nd repo agent ran into my garage and would not leave. The 1st repo agent called the police and the police made me open the garage door and surrender the vehicle. Any help would be great. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Mr.Taylor, i re-read chpt 6 in the CARS manual and i see the section concerning, Custody, Control, and i was mistaken . I thought i had read in the first CARS book i received that a repo wa not complete until finally secured in your yard. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  3. With regards to your article about the police law suit against Matthew Freeman I would like to respond to the remarks made by TBONE2012 as to when a repossession is considered complete in Florida. Florida Statute, Chapter 493.6101(22) states, “a repossession is complete when a licensed recovery agent is in control, custody and possession of such repossessed property”. I have in my possession a legal opinion (Legal Opinion 96-2) from the Division of Licensing further clarifying when a repossession is complete. This Legal Opinion states, “repossessions are lawful when they are 1) performed without a Breach of the Peace; 2) they are performed by a licensed repossessor who is present and has authorization from the lien holder, and 3) the vehicle has been attached to the towing vehicle, is on the repossession vehicle (roll back), or is driven (or about to be driven) by an employee (licensed recovery agent) of the recovery agency. Lawful repossessions do not trigger the jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies.
    Further, I have in my possession a letter that went out to all Florida law enforcement agencies via the Florida Department of law Enforcement which states, in part, “Florida standard jury instructions state that “custody” means “immediate charge and control exercised by a person over the named object”. The instructions further state that “possess” means “to have personal charge of or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over an object”. This letter goes on to state, “possession may be actual or constructive. If a thing is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person, it is in the actual possession of that person.
    If TBONE2012 is a licensed recovery agent in Florida he really needs to contact the Division of licensing and have them send him a copy of Chapter 493. And, if he would like a copy of the Legal Opinion and/or a copy of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement letter I would be happy to oblige him. He can contact me at 866-996-7472.
    This is not intended to demean TBONE2012 in any way. I just wanted him to know the facts.
    Be safe,
    Joe Taylor

  4. This sheriff will win this case for sure. And in what world does this “repo” man think the repo was complete just because he had it hooked and strapped, here in Florida it states “the repossession is not complete until called in to the local authorities and secured at your facility “, that means at anytime during your ride back to the yard if you are stopped or an altercation occurs a breach of peace could happen and your repo is now illegal if you proceed. I really feel the licensing requirements really need to be a national standard and more strict. If you dont have the bonds, the insurance , the properly licensed agents, then no repo licensed issued to you or your company period.

  5. I have been in the Auto Recovery Business for 53years, and for a number of years, We charged the Banks, Credit Unions and Companys such as Ford Motor Co,Gmac, Chrysler Credit a fee that was accepted by them for over 40 years, Now they have come to the point,where if you don’t get the vehicle,they will not pay,We are proffessional train recovery agencys all over the U.S. who pay 65,000.00 to $100.000. for one tow truck, Gas for the last 3 years runs from $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon for fuel and they ask the Recovery agency to run 3 to 9 different address,most over a l00 miles away from the recovery agency office, and they refuse to pay one cent if you don’t recovery the vehicle,They are now hiring fellows with half ton pickups,I am not suprised that they are not in court more ofter.

  6. There are two things that stuck out to me in the above article. The first is the name of the Repo company, “Professional Towing & Recovery LLC.” This is a towing company, NOT a professional repossession company. There is a BIG difference! Anyone whose been in this business for a while knows that there is quite a lot to know and learn about repossessions. It’s not just about having a tow truck and a little guts. I wonder why this company was hired? Could it be price?

    Which brings me to the second thing which stood out to me:

    “Freeman and Manheim Tennessee are also suing Freeman’s insurance company, Mid-Continent Casualty of Oklahoma, for not providing a defense in the lawsuit. The insurance company responded it does not cover claims for illegal repossession actions and job losses. It’s policy covers only damages from accidents and negligence.”

    This guy did not have proper insurance for doing repossessions, he had towing insurance. Again, I wonder why? Could it be the cost?

    This is a perfect example of what lower fees for repossessions will result in. This guy maybe did a hundred repos without incident, without the consumer complaining or knowing his or her rights. But sooner or later, his lack of training and focus on the repossession industry is going to bite him and anyone near him.

    To be truthful, in this industry, any of us can have a repo go bad. But with proper training the odds are much, much less because our agents are trained when to walk away and they know how to repossess vehicles peacefully. But just as importantly, we carry the proper insurance for repossessions! Not just towing insurance! There was a time when I knew of good companies being unable to purchase repossession insurance because there were only a few insurance companies willing to take on the risk. These days I am beset with insurance companies trying to sell me cheaper “repossession insurance.” I’m insured through RSIG so I already know I have one of the best, but I often wonder just what some of these other companies actually cover with their insurance. Clients need to be sure of who they are hiring. Being properly insured as a repossession specialist cost a lot more than being insured as a towing company!

  7. So, let me get this straight. The repoman moved the vehicle, or attempted to leave while the debtor was inside? If that is true, it is an obvious breach of the peace, and should be treated as such. Another example of an inexperienced repossessor bringing grief to everyone he touches.

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