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A pickup truck is towed in Baltimore. (File photo)

Lawsuit: Baltimore towing company cultivating ‘Wild West practice’

A local towing company has been accused of “cultivating a Wild West towing practice” in Baltimore city parking lots in a potential class-action lawsuit.

Greenwood Towing Co. has repeatedly violated the Maryland Towing Act, which requires authorization from the parking lot owner before towing vehicles and immediate and continuous opportunity for the owner to retake possession, according to the lawsuit, filed last week in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

“Greenwood uniformly and routinely violates the Maryland Towing Act as a part of its general business practice,” the complaint alleges.

The class is defined as all persons whose vehicles towed without consent by Greenwood who suffered actual damages or paid Greenwood to retrieve their vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs Cecil and Crystal Roberts allege their 1995 Chevrolet Camaro was parked outside their house in June 2015 when it was towed by Greenwood, according to the complaint. The car was missing two front wheels, stolen earlier that month, and the towing company told them the car was deemed abandoned.

The Roberts’ told the towing company the car was not abandoned, but Greenwood would not return the car without a $350 payment for towing plus a storage fee, according to the complaint. The Roberts’ continued to demand the car be returned and were told to pay increasing amounts to release it and denied permission to retrieve personal items from inside, according to the complaint.

Another plaintiff, Grace Eaton, parked her 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe in the parking lot at Cross Keys Village near her job with special permission because she was on crutches; her car was towed after a week because she was taken to the hospital from work and didn’t retrieve it, according to the complaint.

Eaton’s parents contacted Greenwood and explained the situation but were told the car had been deemed abandoned, and the towing and storage fees would need to be paid to get it back, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs are represented by Richard S. Gordon and Martin E. Wolf of Gordon, Wolf & Carney Chtd. in Towson. They did not respond to requests for comment last week.

A manager with Baltimore-based Greenwood Towing declined to comment on the lawsuit last week.

The complaint also claims conversion, trespass to chattel and violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

The case is Cecil and Crystal Roberts, et al. v. Greenwood Towing & Driveaway Service Inc., et al., 24C15005553.