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Court Upholds Abandoned Vehicle Court (PA)

October 21, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Nothstein-v.-Cochran.pdf">Nothstein v. Cochran</a>, </em>the Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of the defendant tow truck company after following the proper procedure to obtain title for the Plaintiff’s abandoned vehicles.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Plaintiffs in this case left their vehicles in a parking lot owned by a third party. The defendant towed the plaintiffs’ cars from the lot and stored the vehicles in their own impound lot. Defendants had now believed the vehicles were abandoned. According to PA law in order to reclaim an abandoned vehicle, the owner of the vehicle must pay the “costs for towing and storage from the date the salvor submitted the abandoned vehicle report to the department, plus a fee of $50 of which $25 shall be transmitted to the department by the salvor.” 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7306. At this point if the 30 day period lapses then the controlling holder can dispose of the abandoned vehicle.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Defendants followed the proper procedure under the statute and notified Penn DOT.  Defendants had no separate obligation to the plaintiffs.  While Plaintiffs complained they did not get notice from Penn DOT, the court held they did not adequately address that issue by bringing in PennDOT into the action and only found that the defendant towing company was not held to the same rigorous reporting standard, but did follow procedure.  Simple takeaway is to follow the letter of the law or you will have lost your case.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Kevin Riley for his contribution to this post.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact <a href="mailto:tbracken@wcmlaw.com">Tom Bracken</a>.</p>

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