In late 2021, Dianne Godbey, a Missouri resident, filed suit against Ally Financial, Inc. and JHG Mid-American Services, Inc. Most crucially, her lawsuit alleged that Ally, a major auto lender, retained a tow-truck company to repossess her truck even though Ms. Godbey not only hadn’t defaulted but didn’t even have an account with Ally.
Ms. Godbey’s Case
In her lawsuit, Ms. Godbey alleges that, one morning, she was roused from bed by the sound of dogs barking. She went outside to discover a tow truck hitching her truck, a GMC Sierra, to it so as to tow Ms. Godbey’s vehicle away. The lawsuit asserts that Ms. Godbey hadn’t defaulted on any payments and, likewise, hadn’t received a right-to-cure notice, in contravention of Missouri law (Missouri Notice Requirement).
The lawsuit describes a situation in which the tow truck proceeded to take the Sierra away, despite Ms. Godbey’s protests. Then, Ms. Godbey states, she was compelled to spend significant time tracking down her own vehicle, as well as determining who had stolen it and why they had done so. Ms. Godbey’s actual lender, the lawsuit alleges, told her that it hadn’t ordered the repossession/theft of her truck. Eventually, says Ms. Godbey, she learned that Ally, claiming that it had repossessed/stolen her vehicle relative to the loan account of one of Ally’s customers in Nevada, had retained JHG, which does business as ACR, to take the Sierra. After a significant amount of frustration and wasted time, the lawsuit says, Ms. Godbey was able to—about two weeks later—regain her truck before it was sold at auction.
Ms. Godbey’s lawsuit alleges claims for abuse of process, violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), wrongful repossession, conversion (similar to theft), negligence, and civil conspiracy (between Ally and the tow-truck company). Ms. Godbey’s lawsuit seeks monetary relief, including for attorneys’ fees, as well as injunctive relief. More specifically, the lawsuit requests that the judge order Ally to not repossess cars owned by people who aren’t Ally customers because Ally cannot know if such people have defaulted and have no basis by which to send such people the required notice before repossessing/stealing their vehicles. The lawsuit also alleges that Ally is a persistent bad actor in Missouri, referencing a different Missouri lawsuit in which Ally agreed to a large settlement to resolve claims related to unlawful repossession practices (Haskins Class Notice).
Bell Law, LLC
While Ms. Godbey’s case, as one alleging that her vehicle was taken by a lender with whom she had no loan account, may be relatively rare, it’s likely not the only one. And there can be no reasonable question of whether unlawful repos generally occur persistently, because it’s apparent that they do. If you believe that your car or other property was illegally repossessed, you should consider contacting an attorney right away. Bell Law, PC will be happy to help: you may call us at (816) 886-8206 or reach us via our online form.