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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Business owner sues city for towing vehicles

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Frederick Frederick
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

A Toledo business owner who contends the city improperly towed vehicles off his Alexis Road commercial lot filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against the city and one of its employees.

Christian Ewert, 60, contended in the lawsuit that city employee Susan Frederick seized a large number of vehicles from his lot on Sept. 12, 2008, despite having no legal authority to do so. He said the city, through Ms. Frederick, intentionally entered the premises of his business, known as C.M.T. Limited and State Line Group LLC, 210 West Alexis Rd., without consent or "other lawful justification."

"[Ms.] Frederick proceeded to enter a fenced-in storage area and had numerous cars, boats, trailers, pickup trucks, and mobile homes towed away," the lawsuit states. "Defendant Frederick entered a second fenced-in storage area, and had an additional six antique cars towed away. To gain access to this second area, Defendant Frederick used bolt cutters to cut the lock off the gate."

City Law Director Adam Loukx said that he is reviewing the complaint and didn't comment.

Through his attorney, Mr. Ewert declined to comment.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Jerry Phillips and Scott Cioleck, follows by two years the city's reaching a settlement with another resident whose vehicle was towed "under the guise of a public nuisance." In that settlement, the city paid $7,500 to George Pratt, according to information provided by Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Ewert's complaint asks that Ms. Frederick's actions be declared unlawful and seeks punitive damages in excess of $25,000.

"What we really want is to stop this activity," Mr. Phillips said. "We had a prior case and thought it was taken care of."

He added that Ms. Frederick's actions on Mr. Ewert's property occurred "without a court order, without a search warrant, and in our opinion, without legal authority."

The case was assigned to Judge Charles Doneghy.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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