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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 86626
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My car has been towed from in front of my Condo building while

Resolved Question:

My car has been towed from in front of my Condo building while I'm on vacation. I have 2 cars, 1 car is parked in the assigned parking spot in the basement and the second car was parked in front of the Condo building which is common to 3 Condo buildings.

I registered my car when I moved into the Condo 3 years back but it seems there are 2 condo management companies. One for Building management and One for Common area management (parking lot etc). Apparantly the common area management company did not have information in their system even though building management has this information.

Towing company is asking $1500. What are my legal options? Should I get the car released and then pursue legal option or pursue legal options as the towing company is charging $45 per day as rent.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. At this point, you have two options:

REPLEVIN REMEDY
The first that one can do is file for a Writ of Replevin in Court against the towing company. Replevin is the procedure where any person may recover personal property that is wrongfully detained by another and recover any damages by that wrongful detention or taking because you are deprived of the use of your property. In short, you may then recover the vehicle if you can show that it was towed wrongly and you had a right to be there. A sample replevin petition may be seen here.

The bad part is that this may take some time to be heard in Court. This can be 1-2 weeks to several months, depending on your local court's docket (you can call ahead and get a rough estimate). While there is always the possibility of asking for temporary orders for the vehicle to be released while the main hearing is pending, this may involve several trips to the Courthouse. The storage company may also try to sell the vehicle in the meantime.

Once the matter is heard, then the vehicle is ordered released if detained improperly.

NEGLIGENCE REMEDY
The alternative remedy is to pay the fine, get the vehicle released, but then sue the management company and/or the owner for negligence in small claims court - see here.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state.

Negligence is defined as the existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, a breach of that duty, and an injury proximately caused by that breach. (Kirk v. Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center (1987), 117 Ill.2d 507, 525; Mieher v. Brown (1973), 54 Ill.2d 539, 541. See also W. Keeton, Prosser & Keeton on Torts § 30, at 164-65 (5th ed. 1984).)

Here, they had a duty to ensure that the vehicle would not be towed and correctly identify it as a vehicle that was not towed, and they failed in this duty. You can sue them for the cost that it took to get the vehicle out, and any reasonable fee that you had to pay for a rental in the meantime.

Finally, even if you choose the replevin choice and get the vehicle that way (without paying a fee), you may STILL arguably file against the landlord/management company for the two to recoup the legal fees of filing for replevin and/or the rental fees.

Good luck.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ely,


 


Thanks for the reply. I have been talking to the management company and please see below their response.


 


To me the 2 issues they point out seem invalid


 


(1) The rule regarding a car cannot be parked for 3 continuous days out of 10 days is for Guests and it is not mentioned for Residents


 


(2) Based on the picture sent, the car is parked correctly so they cannot tow the car for it being parked incorrectly.


 


As an independent 3rd party


 


(1) Please let me know what you think.


 


(2) Based on this new information, let me know how should I proceed.


 


I did not receive the email from your landlord. It is possible because it is marked at Spam it has not made it through our server’s filter yet. As my assistant and I explained to you on the phone yesterday, you should immediately pick up your vehicle to avoid additional charges.



It is your landlord’s responsibility to supply you with the rules and regulations for both the 8711 building and the Bryn Mawr Master association, since the parking lot is governed by the Bryn Mawr Master Association. For your convenience I have attached a copy of the parking rules for the Bryn Mawr Master Association. Please pay special attention to the highlighted areas.



We have had more and more problems with both residents and non residents abandoning cars in the Bryn Mawr Lot and have towed at least 5 other vehicles from the lot in the last six months.




Jennifer L. Ranieri, CMCA, AMS, PCAM







From: Anil Rudraraju
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 3:22 PM
To: amol; jennifer
Subject: Re: [Spam] Urgent - Car towed (8711 W Bryn Mawr)





Hi Jennifer,

Its been more than 24 hrs and haven't heard any response to the following e-mail from Amol (owner of #410).

This needs to be resolved asap as I will need to take a Cab to work if the car is not released immediately.

The car is also legally registered to my address on 8711 W Bryn Mawr Avenue Unit#410 so its ridiculous that no one checked before towing the vehicle.

Let us know how you are planning to resolve the issue asap.

Regards
Anil

P.S. S&S towing company is charging $45 per day as rent for the car so the sooner this is resolved the better it is for all the parties.



Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!
~ Henry Ford






From:Amol
To: jennifer
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 2:48 PM
Subject: RE: [Spam] Urgent - Car towed (8711 W Bryn Mawr)






Hi Jennifer:







How is that Tairre Mgmt has the information on the tenant / car but Master Association does not?




Anil has been renting the unit for 3 years now.




He had to be out of country for 3 weeks or so due to an emergency.




I don’t think he violated any policy as residents are allowed to park their second car in the front.




Did anyone try to find out from 8711 Bdlg Mgmt at all?







Thanks




Amol












From: Anil Rudraraju [mailtoXXX@XXXXXX.XXX]
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 3:31 PM
To: Amol D
Subject: Fwd: [Spam] Urgent - Car towed (8711 W Bryn Mawr)










Amol











Please see below... Call me and let's decide how to proceed on this issue











Regards






Anil

Begin forwarded message:







From: "Jennifer"
Date: June 12, 2013, 2:05:02 PM CDT
To: "'Anil Rudraraju'" <XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX>
Subject: RE: [Spam] Urgent - Car towed (8711 W Bryn Mawr)








I tried to return your call but the number you left on my voicemail is saying it is not in service.







We attempted to find out who the car belonged to prior to towing the vehicle, this vehicle was not registered to any unit at Bryn Mawr. We put two towing notices on the car (left for one week each) and the car still did not move, because it was parked on an angle and we did not have the information registered here at the management office it was towed.







I do not manage the 8711 building, however we do ask, on behalf of the master assocaiton, that all owners register their vehicles and the people residing in the condo. According to my records the unit is owned by a Amol Deshpande at a White Plains NY address. We have no phone numbers on file for this owner and we have no information on your occupancy.







I would suggest you take the matter up with your landlord if you are indeed renting the unit. It is the owners responsibility to provide their tenants with the rules and regulations of the association. The front parking lots at Bryn Mawr are for the use of all three building residents and their guests. The lot is not to be used for storing vehicles for extended periods of time as the parking lot is extremely limited.







If you or any owner is going to be out of town for an extended period of time it is that residents responsibility to contact management to inform us that you will be leaving a car in a parking space and for how long. I have attached a picture that was taken of your vehicle prior to it being towed.







Hopefully that answers your questions.










Jennifer L. Ranieri, CMCA, AMS, PCAM










From: Anil Rudraraju [mailtoXXX@XXXXXX.XXX]
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:49 AM
To:jennifer
Subject: [Spam] Urgent - Car towed (8711 W Bryn Mawr)











Hi Jennifer,











Tried contacting you but it went to answering machine so left a voice mail.











My name isXXXXX and I'm a resident of 8711 W Bryn Mawr Avenue #410, Chicago, IL for more than 3.5 years now.







I came back from vacation couple of days back and noticed that my car (Black Honda Civic 2002) which was parked in front of the building was missing. I called the towing company and they told me that the car was towed on May 18th and they are asking ~$1500 to release the car.











Not sure why and who asked the car to be towed. I have been living in the building for almost 4 years now and parking the car in front of the building all the time and this has never happened before. It really baffles me that some one would ask the car to be towed before checking if the car belongs to one of the residents of the building.











Let me know how to resolve this issue asap. Feel free to give me a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.











Best regards






Anil











Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!
~ Henry Ford














Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
A,

Thank you for your reply.

As an independent 3rd party

(1) Please let me know what you think.


I think I agree with you. If the rules clearly state that this rule is for GUESTS and not residents, then you should not have been affected by it.

Also, if your photograph shows that the parking was proper, then it was.

However, merely stating so does not mean that you can reason your way out of this with the management company or the storage company. You may need a court order.

(2) Based on this new information, let me know how should I proceed.

Someone in your situation may wish at this time to proceed with one of the options above. If I were you - again hypothetically - I would pay the fine to get the car out quicker before it gets more expensive since it is day by day, and then sue the landlord/management company for the cost as explained.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ely,


 


I was looking at the rules and regulations fine print and it says


 


"Guest parking for visitors is available in the front of each building (or center of the property). Anyone using the building guest parking spaces for more than three (3) days during any consecutive ten (10) day period must obtain a visitors pass from the management company or the Board, which must be prominently displayed in the vehicle at all times when the vehicle is parked in the visitor's parking lot. All guest parking is on a first-come, fist-served basis."


 


It says guest parking for "Visitors" in the first sentence and the second sentence starts with "Anyone" parking in front of the building.


 


Considering this sentence in the rules, do you think I should still go ahead with the small claims court? Will "anyone" in the second sentence imply even Residents? or just the visitors?


 


Please advice


 


Thanks


Anil


 


 

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
A,

Thank you for your follow up.

Parties often make up administrative rules and use contract verbiage that is confusing and even sometimes contradictory. This is what happened here - their sign is ambiguous at best, XXXXX XXXXX worst. In such cases, it is up to the Court to decide how this should be decided, on a case by case basis, using equity (fairness).

Considering this sentence in the rules, do you think I should still go ahead with the small claims court?

I cannot tell you what to do. However, know that you may have a case. Whether or not you pursue it is up to you.

Will "anyone" in the second sentence imply even Residents? or just the visitors?

This would be up to the Judge to decide, and of course their decision would have an impact with which party the Judge will side in the matter.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 86626
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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