Wrecker services sue City of Yukon over ‘rotation’ change

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Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse has been asked to rule on the validity of a new City of Yukon ordinance that amended the city's wrecker rotation process. (File photo)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Two towing companies have sued the City of Yukon over the city council’s new wrecker service “rotation” ordinance.

Bad Day Towing & Recovery Company and Lane’s Towing Services LLC are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed June 1 in Canadian County District Court. The City of Yukon is listed as the defendant.

The wrecker services – licensed by the state Department of Public Safety – claim they were improperly and illegally removed from the city’s “wrecker rotation log” when the Yukon City Council on April 6 approved ordinance 1421.

New city regulations require wrecker service providers to maintain an office and storage facility within the City of Yukon.

Bad Day and Lane’s Towing – which had been placed on Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log in February – are close to Yukon but inside Oklahoma City limits.

“Neither the City of Yukon nor Chief of Police John Corn have ever expressed any concerns about the services provided by Bad Day and Lane’s Towing,” according to the civil suit.

The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys Ryan L. Dean and Benjamin R. Grubb, allege they were removed from Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log “without due process.”

“As a result of the City of Yukon’s actions, plaintiffs have suffered lost profits and will continue losing profits until and at such time there are returned to the City of Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log.”

With several wrecker services inside or near Yukon city limits, Yukon city officials formally established the “rotation” system for wrecker companies that respond to Yukon Police Department requests to impound, tow or otherwise move vehicles.

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT VIOLATED?

In their lawsuit, Bad Day Towing and Lane’s Towing claim the City of Yukon’s actions were arbitrary, capricious and in reckless disregard of the plaintiffs’ rights. They believe they have a “constitutional right” to be on Yukon’s wrecker rotation log.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys argue Yukon’s ordinance 1421 contradicts Oklahoma statute 47-952. This state law reads:

“(In) cities of less than fifty thousand (50,000) population, all such licensed wrecker or towing services located near or in the city limits of such cities shall be considered as being equal distance and shall be called on an equal basis as nearly as possible.”

The towing companies have demanded a jury trial and are asking a judge to declare Yukon’s ordinance 1421 “unconstitutional on its face.” The plaintiffs are seeking to recover actual, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages through the civil action.

Yukon City Attorney Roger Rinehart had no comment when contacted June 3. Rinehart said he was not aware of the lawsuit and the City of Yukon had not yet been served.

The case has been assigned to Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse.

Attorney Cooper Hahn, at the April 6th Yukon City Council meeting, had asked council members to consider revising the proposed ordinance and postponing their vote.

Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby

“I understand, and I get that,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby responded. “But my feeling is, we support our Yukon city limit people first. I’d love for your client to move to our city.”

The city council voted 5-0 to approve ordinance 1421, which Selby reiterated “designates that a wrecker service has to be in the City of Yukon to be on the rotation list.”

If a Yukon wrecker service is not available to respond to a scene, Yukon Police can call one outside Yukon city limits.

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