• Apr 15th 2010 at 8:32AM
  • 41
T&J Towing suing Michigan student for $750,000 – Click above to watch the video

Where does reporting the facts end and libel begin? That's what a court in Michigan will probably be deciding when it takes on the case of T&J Towing vs. Justin Kurtz. According to WoodTV.com, Back in February, Kurtz began a Facebook page called Kalamazoo (Michigan) Residents Against T&J Towing for the purpose of letting people tell their stories about encounters with T&J. Seems no one has anything good to say about T&J's towing practices, and the company wants all that bad press to stop. Somehow they think that will happen by suing Kurtz, a Western Michigan University student, for $750,000.

In the video available after the jump, a legal professor weighs in on the suit and questions how T&J expects to win its case when Kurtz hasn't lied about the company or even written the stories. But, of course, anyone with a few bucks and a free hour can file a lawsuit. We wish everyone involved the best of luck and a speedy resolution. Hat tip to Chris VH!

[Sources: WoodTV.com, Facebook]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      T&J stole my Jeep while I was attending WMU. They removed a parking pass from my vehicle minutes after I parked and towed the vehicle. I contacted the police and the towing company was above the law simply because they had reported the towing. Very frustrating! There should be a class action against T&J!
      • 5 Years Ago
      If I were licensed to practice in MI (which I am not, thank GOD), I would totally take on this case pro bono for Justin...

      ...talk about having fun bringing this case before the judge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Known in the business as a slap suit, this is a tactic used by the rich to silence the poor. It's a basically meritless suit the rich party files knowing the defendent can't afford a defense, and will cave to avoid the suit. In this case, the towing company would better be served using the money to improve service, because there is no way this publicity could be beneficial. Many states have passed legislation making this type of suit a crime, and national legislation is being considered. The main problem with our inability to get any tort reform passed is we (in our infinite stupidity) continue to elect lawyers to public office. If we could agree not to elect lawyers, and would refuse to re-elect incumbants, progress could be made. (Now I'm thinking, could I be sued for this?)
      • 5 Years Ago
      That lawsuit just made things worse for the towing company.

      Facebook page here:
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bob, can you start a facebook page about me?

        You do make at least 50K a year right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are a few senators that are trying to stop lawsuits like this. It has become a trend for companies to sue individuals, knowing they will loose, so that they can put the person into financial trouble to get the person to do what they want.

        This is even more common when politics are involved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Take a look at this:

        Some of these yahoos are going too far. T&J Towing is going after the wrong guy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It should be in our constitution, the right to bad mouth lawyers, politicians, car dealers, towers and real estate agents.

      Also, let me get this straight, ABC basically fabricates video against Toyota and does not get punished, but a guy starts a Facebook page about poor service and get a law suit? Lawyers are going hog wild in USA, anything to make a quick buck.

      First of all, we need a tort reform, secondly few years ago there was a suggestion for a 3 strikes and you are out law, meaning if a lawyer files a suit and it is not allowed to proceeded any further because of its frivolousness, that is a strike one, after 3 strikes the lawyer is disbarred. These people are the biggest contributors to a certain political party and that party has basically sold America to the law firms. Now taxpayers have to pay for Health care of everyone in USA, and should a doctor do a poor job lawyers can sue the government and recover the damages from the taxpayer.

      Good Times.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ EquinsuOcha,

        Reality and Law?

        #1 Towing companies do have a very bad reputation, that is a fact, a reality.

        #2 Lawyers are known to file frivolous lawsuits, that is how they make their living, basically sue someone who has money, also a fact.

        #3 3 Strike law was suggested by one of the biggest law firm sell out is US history, Senator John Kerry, who is also a lawyer. After being pressed by Bush on his opposition to tort reform he suggested a 3 strike law. Needless to say the second he lost he stopped supporting it.

        #4 In USA these days every large company basically employs a small law firm. Rather than spending money on R&D, engineering and other activities vital to business, companies have to spend on lawyers and law firms. Just in case they do get sued by someone else. My company has like 1000 employees and even we have a whole floor occupied by a law firm.
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        awesome idea on the 3 strikes...we need to thin the herd...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah what about Angie's List? They should have a ton of lawsuits!

        This lawsuit is just plain dumb.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It official. Every single one of your points was neither based on reality or law. Congratulations. You contributed to the greater good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've heard the saying that bad bad publicity is good publicity, but in this case, I don't think so.

      If this actually goes to court, then the defence attorney could actually call on the posters with bad stories. If they have all have the same stories under oath, and paperwork to back it up, then it could open up a criminal investigation against the tow company. I don't think it's any secret that some tow companies go out and scout for cars they can tow, while others actually wait for calls, or at least work for the police and make legal a-hole tows. The ones that do nothing but scout shouldn't be allowed to be in business. Maybe people in MI, in this area should take photo's with their cell phone after they park in a legal spot. Once they have proof that they legally parked, they can just report the car stolen. Show pics to police and ins companies. Put some heat on the towing company. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it's a tow company. Stealing a car is stealing a car.

      Last but not least, it seems like shady e-bay car dealers, and bullying tow companies have never heard of the Internet or understand how it works.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Politicians are finding this out; so should businesses: nothing is opaque anymore thanks to the internet. Only a little spark is needed to start a PR conflagration. Why bother with newspapers or the BBB when everyone who needs to speak out has a voice online?

      I hope this doesn't end up in the Supreme Court in its current state. If they did pick it up, the 5-4 conservative majority would probably rule in favor of businesses' reputations over freedom of online speech, and make another sweeping decision that protects said businesses. I hope I'm wrong though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Such bullying.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not to sure about the 3 strike deal. I mean most people dedicate their lives to being lawyers. So taking that away in just 3 shots is almost like them wasting their lives. But I do see your point, all these frivolous law suits need to stop. The only way to make a dent, and thin the herd is to hit them in the pockets. Maybe a nice hefty fine for 3 strikes, or it would be like putting points on a liscense. After a certain number they are suspended, and they have to pay a fee. But total dis-barment is a bit to steep a penalty for just 3 strikes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah right. Half of Congress were lawyers at one point in their lives so any kind of law that could potentially muzzle lawyers or make them accountable for their actions would go over like a lead balloon. Maybe total disbarment is too steep a penalty but there should be substantial consequences for these tort factory law firms that contribute nothing to society.

        Anyone read about that class action suit brought against Dole by plantation workers in South America? Some American plantiffs' lawyer went down there and attempted to manufacture a case to bring to American courts. Apparently it was a chirade of the highest order and it emerged that he had basically been falisifying evidence to bolster his case. Nevermind that, the company had to spend millions defending itself and the lawyer went on his merry way after a slap on the wrist from the judge.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have no sympathy whatsoever for a dirtbag "lawyer" who dedicates their lives to screwing people over for money, essentially costing everyone else who uses a specific product or service to pay for their lawsuit.

        I know of at least one large lawfirm who is set up based on some legal niche. Their plantiffs have no argument, but some ruling long ago has become a simple way for them to continually suck money from one industry. Anyone involved in that "legal" process can see that the system is set up to feed itself. The process that the suit goes through ensures attorneys (on both sides) are all paid the most possible by an overwhelmingly large number of cases of varying types that have the same outcome, which is that they continue on through the system, racking up the billable hours.

        This ensures that the industry ends up settling to avoid mounting legal fees for minor suits. It's cheaper to pay than defend. The lawyers all get their money, the plantiff gets some pittance and the cost is transfered to future purchasers of products from the industy I speak of.

        A 3 strike rule would ensure that any lawyer doing this would be scared to proceed unless they have a real argument. Of course, that would mean that judges would need to find these suits frivolous (which many times they wouldn't, after all, they were once attorneys themselves and they have a club they need to see continue to prosper).
      • 5 Years Ago
      There really needs to be MAJOR fines and penalties against companies and lawyers who file these kinds of suits. In reality they're just trying to muscle this guy with a threat and neither the public nor the defendant should have to pay for this idiocy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are "loser pays" systems in a few areas. New York City's environmental court, for instance. The president of my college used to be the president of NYU, and had lots of horse manure suites thrown his way for trying to expand the school. After the 'loser pays' system was implemented, they suddenly stopped.

        Of course, up here in little old Burlington, Vermont, there is no such system. And because of that, every time we try to build a new dorm we have to wait TWO YEARS for the environmental court to be able to hear the case. It is usually immediately ruled in the school's favor but it is a massive waste of time and money.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jrhmobile: More like the LAWYER will end up owning the company.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's why we need a "loser pays" system. No longer could plaintiffs attempt to bury people with frivolous lawsuits until the latter capitulates. I know that imposing accountability won't go over well with the legal community, but I think it's a necessary step to ensure that our courts aren't abused.

        If you think about it, it works perfectly. Plaintiffs would be forced to consider the possibility of having to pay the defendant's legal fees if they bring a frivolous suit so you better bring an airtight case to the table. No more of this suing 10 different people for $100 million and hoping at least one of them sticks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I went to WMU. T&J is infamous for predatory towing around that area. While predatory towing itself should be completely illegal, I see nothing wrong with this kids facebook page.

      I mean, heres an idea, if you want people to like you, don't steal their cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I went to WMU too. T&J towed my car once for parking in a lot at an aparment building without a pass. There were about 100 open spots in the lot, and they came in and towed me. Then I called the guy and he said I could come pick it up. I ended up sitting on the big ass rock in front of their BS lot and waited for about an hour before the A-hole showed up. All they do is preditory towing. They are not a wrecker service at all. They are a bunch of hillbilly criminals. This lawsuit proves that even more. 750K against a college student?! WTF?!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Most towing companies don't realize that if they simply did a small amount of community service their reputations would be much improved in their respective communities. For example, a local towing company that does the no parking/visitor only/repo towing jobs also offers free towing for pregnant women or free jump start late at night if the driver doesn't have an auto club. Never hear a negative thing about them and they must still be raking it in judging by the dozen or so late model tow trucks in their fleet.
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