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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32340
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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My husband's stolen car was recovered a week ago, and we

Customer Question

Hi, my husband's stolen car was recovered a week ago, and we just got a notice in the mail this saturday, a week later, about it. It has been impounded and now we are on the hook for the impound fees. Neither the police department nor the tow company notified us by phone at the time of retrieval. Do we have any recourse against the police for the costs of the impound?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Further, if you get a message asking if you want to do additional services like a telephone call that message is automatically generated by the website and is not sent from me. I, like most of the experts in the Legal categories, do not do telephone calls due to issues with State Bar rules and other concerns.

No, unfortunately not. If you had full coverage insurance they will usually cover the cost of the impound fees but there is no law that would allow a recovery against the police.

Many people are under the impression they should be able to sue the police for not letting them know when the vehicle was impounded. However, the courts have ruled for years that the police can't be sued for not doing their jobs.

I'll give you a couple of case cites that stand for this proposition.

Castle Rock v. Gonzalez, 545 US 748 (2005).

You can read an article on it at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-have-a-constitutional-duty-to-protect-someone.html and at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_of_Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales

The actual case can be read at https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04-278.ZS.html

There is another case that was from the DC Court of Appeals called Warren v. District of Columbia which you can read about at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia and the actual case is at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9108468254125174344&q=warren-v-district-of-columbia&hl=en&as_sdt=2006

Please remember that when reading case law the facts are never going to be the same as with your case, you have to look for the legal principles involved.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank You,
I had a feeling we just had to pay for it, but I wanted an expert opinion since it is really unfair!
Sincerely,
Carol
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

It is unfair. You may want to go through an appeal process with the police department and then the city council but pay it first so they release the car and you don't continue to accumulate fees. Just be aware that if you sue them you can't really recover in court. They may not know that though.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

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