OOIDA to move forward in case against Tennessee towing company

July 19, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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A recent U.S. district court decision set the stage for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to move forward with its lawsuit against a towing company that allegedly inflated the price of a nonconsensual tow by thousands of dollars.

On July 18, a U.S. district court in Tennessee dismissed Koenigs LLC’s claim that the city of Savannah, Tenn., deprived it of procedural due process when it was eliminated from a towing rotation list. The court also granted the city of Savannah’s motion for summary judgment.

OOIDA’s lawsuit stems from a 2016 incident when a tractor-trailer owned by TNJ Trucking Co. crashed in Hardin County, Tenn. After the crash, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security contacted Koenigs Towing & Recovery to perform the tow.

Koenigs later billed TNJ Trucking $45,090. After a complaint was issued to law enforcement, a determination was made that TNJ was overcharged by $29,126.28. Following an investigation, Koenigs was removed from the department’s rotation list because one of the policies for being on the towing rotation is that companies must “charge a fair, equitable and reasonable rate for services rendered.”

Koenigs filed suit, saying it was unfairly removed from the towing rotation. The court ruled, however, that the company’s procedural due process rights weren’t violated “because they received notice of the violation and an adequate opportunity to be heard.”

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, said that with that case now out of the way, the Association’s lawsuit on behalf of its member can move forward against Koenigs.

The first hearing in that case is scheduled for Nov. 18.

The lawsuit is just part of OOIDA’s ongoing efforts in states around the country to reform predatory towing practices. Oftentimes, absent of legislation or oversight, unscrupulous towing companies have free rein to charge exorbitant fees, with little recourse for truckers.

Click here to learn about more reform efforts OOIDA is currently involved with.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.