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Classic Towing, Inc. v. DeProspo

March 15, 2010

CLASSIC TOWING, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MELISSA DEPROSPO, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Passaic County, Docket No. DC-025002-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 24, 2010

Before Judges J. N. Harris and Newman.

Plaintiff Classic Towing, Inc., appeals from an order dismissing its complaint for towing and storage charges incurred by defendant Melissa DeProspo. We reverse and remand.

The relevant facts are straightforward. The Paterson Police Department directed that a 1985 Jeep, presumably owned by defendant, be towed off the streets on February 12, 2005. The vehicle had fictitious plates. On April 26, 2005, the vehicle was acquired at public auction by plaintiff for $17. Defendant was notified by the City of Paterson under a publication notice of the auction. Plaintiff resold the Jeep for scrap for $86.40 and gave defendant the appropriate credit.

Plaintiff sought a judgment for the seventy-four days of storage at $24 per day, allegedly in accordance with the city ordinance; labor of $25; a city fee of $15 for the seventy-four days of storage; towing charges of $78; and taxes of $120.12 for a total of $2,215.12. Additional interest and credits brought the grand total to $2,401.39.

Defendant did not answer the Special Civil Part complaint and default was entered against her. When plaintiff submitted its proofs for the entry of a default judgment, the trial court rejected the application on two grounds: (1) plaintiff did not itself give notice required by statute to defendant of the impending auction of her car by the City of Paterson, and (2) plaintiff did not adequately demonstrate the reasonableness of its charges.

On appeal, plaintiff raises the following points for our consideration:

POINT I

THE COURT UTILIZED THE INCORRECT STATUTE UPON WHICH TO BASE ITS OPINION.

POINT II

A TOWER IS ENTITLED TO TOWING AND STORAGE FEES INDEPENDENT OF A MUNICIPALITY'S ...


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