Suing Auto Repair Shop for negligence
Suing Auto Repair Shop for negligence
I'm suing my mechanic for negligence that led to the theft of some equipment from my car. I was hoping for some advice on the strengths and weaknesses of my case as well as some case law if anyone had some from my jurisdiction.
Thank you very much for any advice at all.
This is the plaintiff's claim I submitted:
Theft and Vandalism to 1993 Toyota MR2
The plaintiff contracted the defendant for motor vehicle repairs. On June 16th, 2005 the plaintiff's 1993 Toyota MR2, which was in the possession of the defendant Four Seasons Tire Ltd Auto Service Centre, was broken into. The thieves removed a sound system and car seats. The plaintiff's loss is the result of the defendant's negligence to provide secure storage while in possession of the plaintiff's motor vehicle. The following is a list of the items stolen as well as the damages to the plaintiff's car.
JBL 1200.1 MSRP $999.99
JBL 180.2 MSRP $349.99
Pioneer DEHP9300 Head Unit MSRP $1000.00
Reactive Racing Seats 72030 MSRP $1000.00
Infinity Perfect 6.1 Speakers MSRP $799.99
Two Infinity Perfect 10.1 Subwoofers MSRP $799.98
Sony XAV7W AV Master Controller $525.00
Stinger 1.0 Farad Capacitor $200.00
Estimated Damage to Car's Lock $325.00
Total estimated loss: $6000.00
This is the defendant's claim:
At no time was the Defendant, (Plaintiff by countersuit) Four Seasons Tire Ltd Auto Service Centre (hereinafter "Four Seasons") in Legal Possession of the said vehicle. Sometime in March, 2005 the vehicle was towed to Four Seasons and dropped without consent of Four Seasons. The Plaintiff (Defendent by countersuit) called the next day, advised Four Seasons that the engine was blown, and that it would take a few weeks or months to find, and be able to afford a used engine. At no time did four seasons inspect, enter, or diagnose the problem with the car, nor was four seasons ever in possession of keys to the car. Four seasons owner, Mr Surjit Singh, in that first phone conversation, advised the plaintiff that if they were not repairing the vehicle to have it removed immediately. In no way did Four Seasons consent to store the car on behalf of the plaintiff.
Over the course of the next 90 days, Four Seasons called at least 10 times demanding he remove the vehicle immediately. Lulic constantly promised to do so, but refused to actually comply. Unfortuneatly, on or around June 16th, 2005 the car was broken into, certain items were stolen from the car. Damage was also done to Four Seasons fence which surrounds the property.
The claim for $6000 is ludicrous. The car has a value less than $1000. The items listed on the claim may or may not have been inside or stolen, and the values are certainly inflated. More importantly, Four Seasons should not be held responsible for damages to a vehicle illegally parked on their property, without consent.
Should this Honourable Court find in the plaintiff's favour, which we dispute, then Four Seasons is entitled to storage. Storage in the industry typically is free when repairs are done, however it is not unusual for charges of $100.00 per day storage to be charged when no work is done. Four seasons therefore claimes storage of 90 days @ $100.00 per day, plus GST for a total of $9630.00. Offset the plaintiff's claim there remains a balance of $3630.00 owing to Four Seasons.
Four Season's claims interest as allowed by Law.
He then submitted a counter claim in the amount listed above with the exact same claim summary.
His claim is comletely full of lies. Most of which I can disproove. I'm not surprised, mechanics tend to be corrupt. This is my defense to his counter claim:
The Defendant, (Plaintiff by countersuit) Four Seasons Tire Ltd Auto Service Centre (hereinafter “Four Seasons”) was at all times in legal possession of the said vehicle. The Plaintiff (Defendant by countersuit) Miron Lulic contacted Four Seasons owner, Mr. Surjit Singh, June 10th 2005, and negotiated a valid oral contract. Consideration was given by both parties and a mutual agreement was reached. Mr. Surjit Singh agreed to take possession of the vehicle and install an engine that would be delivered by Mr. Miron Lulic at a future undetermined date. Miron Lulic did not require Four Seasons to diagnose a problem. The labour contracted was to remove a faulty engine and install a replacement. In exchange Mr. Miron Lulic agreed to pay Mr. Surjit Singh a sum of $1500.00 in labour costs. At no time was a storage fee negotiated as a term of this contract. The said vehicle was then transported to the private lot of Four Seasons. Once again the terms of the oral contract were confirmed and witnessed by third party Craig D’souza.
The Defendants claim contains the following fabrications.
-“Sometime in March, 2005 the vehicle was towed to Four Seasons and dropped without consent of Four Seasons”
The vehicle was not towed to Four Seasons “sometime in March, 2005”. The vehicle was delivered on June 10th 2005 with the consent of Four Seasons owner Mr. Surjit Singh.
-“Mr. Surjit Singh, in that first phone conversation, advised the Lulic that if they were not repairing the vehicle to have it removed immediately.”
Mr. Surjit Singh at no time requested that the vehicle be removed. Mr. Surjit Singh did request that the vehicle be moved to an area closer to the back of the lot on June 10th 2005. This request was completed that same day.
-“Four Seasons should not be held responsible for damages to a vehicle illegally parked on their property, without consent”
Four Seasons willingly consented to storing the vehicle at no cost while awaiting delivery of the replacement engine. A storage fee was never negotiated under the terms of the oral contract. Four Seasons admits to this when they state “storage is typically free when repairs are done”. The said vehicle was in the possession of Four Seasons a total of 10 days. The claim for a 90 day storage fee of $9,630.00 represents Four Seasons lack of ethical and legal responsibility through breach of contract, perjury, and absence of moral responsibility.
I have phone records that show he never phoned me and show the dates that I phoned him. I also have an invoice from the towing company that towed my car when my engine blew. They towed it to a different auto body shop which absolutely disprooves his claim that he stored my car for 90 days.
I'm absolutely appalled at this guy. I've been faithfully going to him for 10 years now. My family has spent a good $15,000-20,000 easily at his shop over the years. I spent $3,000 last may on a paint job alone. The guy wouldn't even agree to take any responsibilty or put this on his insurance. Then he files a defense that is completely fabricated and a counterclaim equally so.
Samaritan & Scholar
Interesting. He claims that a tow truck just dumped your car on his lot. Let me ask you this:
(1) Do you have any receipts for the work that the defendant provided? This is important. This would mean an estimate for work and information concerning the car. If so, then that is absolute proof that you did have a contract and that the station had taken possession of the car as a "bailor" or someone who temporarily has possession of someone else's goods and may bear certain responsibilities.
(2) How did you get the car to the shop if it was towed elsewhere? In addition to that invoice, bring your phone bills and show that you had conversations with the defendant. If you have proof of any type of deposit or payment, show that the two of you entered into some type of agreement.
(3) Even if you don't, do you have past receipts that would show a long time relationship with the defendant? How about canceled checks for the work currently done to the car? This would show circumstantial evidence that the supposed "dropping off of the car" never occurred and that the two of you had entered into prior discussions before and was customary. In small claims, it's a layman's court and that means that formalities can be disposed of and frequently a judge will hear in plain English what happened and can make sense of your relationship. That still doesn't mean you shouldn't bring as much documentation as possible for the above point and this paragraph.
(4) Your amount of damages is ludicrous and the defendant is correct. You can't go into court asking for manufactuer's suggested retail price on items and it looks bad. Most of the time those numbers have no bearing on what those items really cost fair value and the court will not allow you to have a windfall. You are best off conceding to the court, right away when asked, that you asked for the high amount so that the court can find the appropriate amount to award. Be prepared to bring in at least two reasonable estimates for the cost of the items, perhaps a printout from two well known online stores. Regarding the cost of the car, it has no bearing on the accessories you may have added. You can point out the the counterclaim is not only the result of perjured testimony, but is even more ludicrous and an attempt to get the judge to "split the apple" down the middle. There is no dispute, the defendant is a proven perjurer per your towing receipt and phone bills (and hopefully receipts and partial payment) and the defendant should get much worse for abusing the law feeling that there are no consequences to perjury.
(5) You may want to ask the court to award you additional damages due to the defendant's perjurious defense and counterclaim. That might not happen (there are rules) but it's all fair game in small claims and funny things happen. I once won a nice amount against a large telecom that blew off several of my demand notices, information subpoenas, and failed to show up in court. The arbitrator listened and wasn't too pleased.
Good luck and let us know how things turn out. Be VERY organized when presenting your case.
He missed his 20 day time period to file a defense and I noted him in default. At my assessment the judge awarded me a total of about $4700 to account for depreciation. They successfully motioined for a re-trial.
I went my pre-trial the other day and when his insurance company's lawyer saw all my evidence of his perjury she said she would recommend to the insurance company to settle out of court. The judge joked that I'm going to "kill them if it goes to trial" because all of his credibility was down the drain. She said she would get back to me in the next week.
My question is for those experienced in settlement negotiation. If I was awarded $4700 at assessment what should I be trying to get in settlement? How do I approach the process?
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