This website contains information and documents regarding a class action in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Yang v. G&C Gulf, d/b/a G&G Towing, Case No. 403885-V.
What is this lawsuit about?
Between April 16, 2012 and mid-2017, G&G Towing “involuntarily towed” approximately 28,000 vehicles in Montgomery County, Maryland – that is, the person whose vehicle was towed was parked in a private parking lot and did not request that G&G Towing tow the vehicle. This type of towing is commonly known as “trespass towing.” The lawsuit alleges that G&G Towing used predatory and aggressive towing tactics that violated duties imposed under state law (the Maryland Tow Act, Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 21-10A-01, et seq.), the Montgomery County Towing Law (Montgomery County Code, § 30C-1, et seq.) and the common law.
Current Status and 2019 Compromise
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County has preliminarily allowed, or “certified,” a class-action lawsuit and is considering whether to approve a proposed plan put forth by Plaintiffs’ Class Counsel to make a settlement demand on each and every member of the Defendant Class of Parking Lot owners, managers and agents to reimburse Plaintiff Class members for the monies that G&G Towing charged them in connection with the towing of their vehicle.
Everyone who fits the following description and falls into at least one of the one sub classes is a Member of the Plaintiff Settlement Class and may benefit from the 2019 Compromise:
If the 2019 Compromise is finally approved by the Court, it will be presented as a settlement demand to each Defendant Class Member.
Exceptions to Being Included
Excepted from the 2019 Plaintiff Settlement Class (including Plaintiff Settlement Subclass A and Plaintiff Settlement Subclass B) are those persons who were included among the Plaintiff Settlement Class paid in connection with the 2017 Defendant Class Settlement.
Status of the Defendant Class
The Class Representative for the Defendant Class – Bruce Patner d/b/a Patner Properties – mounted a vigorous defense on behalf of the Defendant Class. Nonetheless, on November 14, 2016, follow briefing and oral argument, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County issued an Order finding that the following Parking Lot owners, managers and agents properly should be certified and treated as a Defendant Class:
All Parking Lot owners, managers and agents who entered into a written contract
with G&G Towing for the provision of trespass towing services which resulted in
one or more vehicles being towed from the Parking Lot between April 16, 2012
and January 7, 2016.
The court appointed Bruce Patner t/a Patner Properties as named representative of the Defendant Class. Click here to see a copy of the Court’s Order certifying the Defendant Class.
Following the certification of the Defendant Class, the Defendants took the extraordinary step of petitioning the Maryland Court of Appeals – Maryland’s highest Court – for issuance of a Writ of Mandamus (the “Petition”), asking that the Court of Appeals order the Circuit Court for Montgomery County to vacate and reverse its November 14, 2016 Order certifying the Defendant Class. The Court of Appeals denied the Petition.
On May 3, 2016, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County entered judgment against G&G Towing in the amount of $22 million, in favor of the certified Plaintiff Class, finding that the towing company had violated specific duties imposed by law. In entering the Judgment, the Court considered much of the evidence in the case and made specific Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law regarding the towing practices of G&G Towing.
G&G Towing voluntarily paid $335,000 in partial satisfaction of the Judgment and, as of June 2017, has ceased its trespass towing operations. On April 26, 2016, the certified Plaintiff added as Defendants to this lawsuit a Defendant Class of Parking Lot owners, managers and agents – 600 or so Parking Lot owners, managers and agents, each of whom had contracted with G&G Towing to provide trespass towing services. Plaintiffs alleged that the members of the Defendant Class were jointly and severally liable for G&G Towing’s violations of the duties imposed under the law.
The 2017 Defendant Class Settlement
With the assistance of the Honorable James R. Eyler (ret.), who served as mediator, the certified Plaintiff and Defendant Classes reached a Settlement. The Final Judgment Approving Settlement and Certifying Settlement Classes was entered on January 16, 2018. The Settlement provided substantial monetary relief to any Plaintiff Class Member whose vehicle was towed on or after April 26, 2013 (roughly 21,000 consumers). This represents approximately 2/3 of the entire Plaintiff Class. Any Plaintiff Class Member whose vehicle was towed before April 26, 2013 (roughly 8,000 consumers), remained in the litigation and is currently part of the 2019 Plaintiff Class mentioned above under “Current Status and 2019 Compromise”.
Plaintiff Class Counsel
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County has appointed Richard S. Gordon, Benjamin H. Carney and Ashley A. Wetzel as attorneys for the Plaintiff Settlement Class. Mr. Gordon is appointed to serve as Lead Counsel. Here’s their contact information:
Richard S. Gordon
Benjamin H. Carney
Ashley A. Wetzel
GORDON, WOLF & CARNEY, CHTD.
100 W. Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 100
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 825-0066 Fax
Defendant Class Counsel
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County has appointed James P. Ulwick and Jean E. Lewis of the law firm Kramon & Graham as attorneys for the Defendant Settlement Class. Mr. Ulwick is also appointed to serve as Lead Counsel. Here’s their contact information:
James P. Ulwick
Jean E. Lewis
Kramon & Graham, PA
One South Street, Suite 2600
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 361-8219 Fax
Plaintiff Settlement Subclass A – First Year Tows
All individuals in the Plaintiff Class certified by the Court on May 3, 2016, whose vehicles were non-consensually towed by G&G Towing from one of the Parking Lots owned or managed by the members of Defendant Settlement Subclass A and Defendant Settlement Subclass B between April 16, 2012 and April 25, 2013.
Plaintiff Settlement Subclass B – Non-First Year Tows
All individuals in the Plaintiff Class certified by the Court on May 3, 2016, whose vehicles were non-consensually towed by G&G Towing from one of the Parking Lots owned or managed by the members of Defendant Settlement Subclass A and Defendant Settlement Subclass B between April 26, 2013 and June 23, 2017.
(1) Those individuals who were in the Plaintiff Class certified by the Court on May 3, 2016; plus (2) all those all persons whose vehicles, between January 8, 2016 and June 23, 2017, who were non-consensually towed by G&G Towing from one of the approximately 365 Parking Lots owned or managed by the members of the Defendant Class certified by the Circuit Court on November 14, 2016. Excepted from the 2019 Plaintiff Settlement Class are those persons who were members of the 2017 Plaintiff Settlement Class, unless the person was otherwise non-consensually towed by G&G Towing and the tow was not covered by the payment provisions of the 2017 Defendant Class Settlement. (“2019 Plaintiff Settlement Class”).
Copyright © Yang v. G&G Towing.