California-I recently had a vehicle repossessed. I was working out payment arrangements with the dealer as I was behind due to being off work from an injury but had returned and wanted to catch up. Long story short, regardless The repo man came twice, first time I refused to let him take the vehicle as I thought it was in error, I demanded he leave my property, get his truck out of my driveway, he refused, blocked my car in and then came back on my property on foot. I was sitting in the drivers seat with the door open, he would not let me close my car door (it was raining) I advised him he was in breach of peace, he stated, "tough $hi%" and threatened to call the police. I forcibly closed my door while moving him out of the way. He then called the police and tried to make an assault complaint, they took a report and he left. He came back again a week later, on foot I yelled at him from the porch to get off my property and leave. I opened my front door yelling at him to leave, started walking toward him and the vehicle as he was walking towards it, no tow truck in sight, he ignored me, jumped in the truck had a dealer key and drove off...I wanted to get in front, but he was hauling and I am not going to get killed getting in the way. I now want to send a demand letter for the return of the vehicle, sue for conversion, damages, breach of peace, which I have his police report to support that a breach occurred...any thoughts? What relevant California and Federal codes should be referenced in the demand letter? Also, knowing that will get blown off, I wan to file on my own in Superior Court in the county I live in, links to pleadings examples or what I should request from the court beside damages, punitive, FDCPA violations and a request for an injunction to stop the sale of the vehicle? Thank you in advance for your time.
The above-quoted case law demonstrates that proof of the application of fear or force in the repossession of a motor vehicle operates as a conversion and makes the repossessor liable for the value of the vehicle to the repossessed owner. There is also case law that permits liability to be imputed to the lender, even though the repo company is an independent contractor. See, e.g., Loughan v. Harger-Haldeman (1960) 184 Cal.App.2d 495.
So, the answer to your question depends on whether or not you can prove that the second episode, which resulted in the repossession of the vehicle, was accomplished by force or fear of physical injury. If yes, then you have a case. Otherwise, not.
Note: I do not ordinarily present "black and white" answers to customers, because there are almost always shades of gray in any legal action. However, the manner in which you describe the events leading to the repossession, suggest that this really does come down to exactly what you can prove occurred during the second repossession -- and whether or not that proof shows that your efforts to prevent the repossession were thwarted by affirmative acts by the repo agent to cause you to be in reasonable fear of serious physical injury.
Please let me know if my answer is helpful. Thanks in advance.
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