By Conrad Dudderar
A lawsuit over the City of Yukon’s new wrecker service rotation has been transferred to federal court.
Attorney John J. Love, representing the defendant City of Yukon, filed notice July 1 that the case was being moved from Canadian County District Court to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
The lawsuit was originally filed June 1 in Canadian County District Court on behalf of Bad Day Towing & Recovery Co. and Lane’s Towing Services.
These companies claim they were improperly and illegally removed from Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log after the city council on April 6 approved ordinance 1421 requiring wrecker service providers to maintain an office and storage facility inside Yukon city limits.
The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys Ryan L. Dean and Benjamin R. Grubb, had been placed on the wrecker rotation log in February by Yukon Police Chief John Corn. Their wrecker services are close to Yukon – but inside Oklahoma City’s boundaries.
In the July 1st notice filed on behalf of the defendant, City of Yukon attorney Love wrote the plaintiffs’ petition “does not identify the legal basis for plaintiffs’ contention that they were denied due process to which they were entitled.
“Similarly, the petition does not identify the legal basis for plaintiffs’ claim that they had a constitutionally protected property interest,” according to the court document.
“There is no legal basis for assertion of these constitutional claims under the Oklahoma Constitution” and the “only basis for such claims is under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
Attorney Love referred to the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act, saying this immunizes governmental entities from claims resulting from “legislative functions”.
“Accordingly, municipalities are exempt from liability in tort for claims arising from the adoption of an ordinance,” the notice of removal reads.
‘WITHOUT DUE PROCESS’
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.
In their lawsuit against the City of Yukon, Bad Day Towing and Lane’s Towing allege they were removed from Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log “without due process.”
“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.
“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.”
Through their lawsuit, Bad Day Towing and Lane’s Towing claim they have a “constitutional right” to be on Yukon’s wrecker rotation log.
Their 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.”