By Conrad Dudderar
A settlement has been reached in federal lawsuit filed by two wrecker service companies against the City of Yukon.
The Yukon City Council, after meeting in executive session Jan. 25, unanimously approved entering into a settlement agreement with plaintiffs Bad Day Towing & Recovery Co. and Lane’s Towing of Yukon LLC. Mayor Shelli Selby was authorized to sign the agreement.
Representing the City of Yukon is John J. Love, the attorney assigned to the case through the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group.
Yukon city attorney Roger Rinehart said a “tentative settlement has been determined and I understand both parties are in agreement.”
“It validates our ordinance,” Rinehart added.
The civil action against the defendant City of Yukon is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The case was transferred to federal court July 1 after being filed one month earlier in Canadian County District Court.
The towing companies claimed they were improperly and illegally removed from the City of Yukon’s official wrecker rotation log after the city council on April 6, 2021, approved ordinance 1421, according to court documents.
That ordinance requires wrecker service providers to maintain an office and storage facility inside Yukon city limits.
U.S. District Judge David Russell on Jan. 20 issued an administrative closing order stating attorneys for both sides indicated they had reached a settlement and compromise in the matter.
The federal action will be dismissed within 45 days of the Jan. 20 unless either party indicates the case was not settled.
WRECKER ROTATION LOG
Bad Day Towing and Lane’s Towing in February 2021 had been placed on the wrecker rotation log by Yukon Police Chief John Corn. Their wrecker services are close to Yukon – but inside Oklahoma City’s boundaries.
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.
Through their lawsuit against the City of Yukon, Bad Day Towing and Lane’s Towing claimed they had a “constitutional right” to be on Yukon’s wrecker rotation log.
Their attorneys, Ryan L. Dean and Benjamin R. Grubb, argued 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.”
City of Yukon attorney Love stated in court documents that the plaintiffs’ petition did not identify the legal basis for their contentions they were denied due process or had a constitutionally protected property interest.
Further, Love argued that the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act immunizes government entities from tort claims resulting from “legislative functions” and arising from adopting ordinances.