Pelkey v. Dan's City Used Cars, Inc.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff Robert Pelkey appealed a superior court’s decision that granted partial summary judgment in favor of Defendant Dan’s City Used Cars, Inc., d/b/a Dan’s City Auto Body. In 2009, Plaintiff brought suit against his landlord and Defendant alleging Defendant towed his car pursuant to a parking policy at his apartment complex. At the time, Plaintiff was confined to bed due to a serious medical condition and did not realize that his car had been towed. Soon thereafter, he was admitted to the hospital for a procedure to amputate his left foot, during which he suffered a heart attack. Plaintiff’s attorney had learned that Defendant had possession of the car and had scheduled to sell it a public auction two days later. After the attorney informed Defendant that his client wished to arranged for the return of the vehicle, Defendant falsely told the attorney that the car had already been sold. Defendant later traded the car to a third party, but Plaintiff received no remuneration for his loss. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit alleging that Defendant violated: (1) the Consumer Protection Act; (2) RSA chapter 262(a statute permitting a towing company to place a lien on a vehicle for reasonable charges incident to towing and storage and prescribing the requirements for collection of those charges by selling the vehicle at auction); and (3) the common law duty of a bailee to exercise reasonable care while in possession of a bailor’s property. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that a provision of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) preempted Plaintiff’s claims. Finding that Plaintiff’s claims were not preempted, the Supreme Court reversed the superior court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Defendant and remanded the case for further proceedings.