02 April 2008

shoddy service from the louisiana state police and office of motor vehicles

click here or link to download nine page .pdf
this isnt a picture of the chevelle mentioned in this opinion just a picture of one we snatched from google images

this whole lawsuit could have, should have, been avoided if only the louisiana department of public safety had done their job competently and with the proper due diligence according to law. to see just how the jackasses at department of public safety operate you have to read the opinion 05-1277 mentioned in the third circuit's opinion near the bottom of this post.

The 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle in dispute was originally owned by Select Motor Company, Inc., a classic car dealership located in Ball, Louisiana. In due course of business, Select sold the Chevelle to the Morgans, a couple from Indiana. After purchasing the Chevelle, the Morgans decided not to keep the car and put it up for sale. The Morgans consigned the vehicle to Select for resale. Select found a buyer. This last buyer abandoned the vehicle. Once the vehicle was found, a state trooper conducted a physical inspection of the vehicle, as required by the State when a vehicle is abandoned. However, upon conducting the inspection, the state trooper incorrectly recorded the Chevelle’s vehicle identification number (VIN).

At this point, the Chevelle came into the possession of Gene’s Used Parts and Wrecker Service (Gene’s). Gene’s was not interested in keeping the car; rather, it wanted to sell it. Accordingly, it filed an “Affidavit of Physical Inspection for Vehicle Identity Verification” in order to acquire a Permit to Sell. The affidavit was completed by an officer with the Louisiana State Police. The affidavit reflected the incorrect VIN of the Chevelle as previously recorded by the state trooper.

Nonetheless, a Permit to Sell was issued to Gene’s by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC). Once Gene’s received its Permit to Sell, it contacted Select and inquired whether it was interested in purchasing back the Chevelle. Select accepted. In the process of purchasing the vehicle, Select became aware of the clerical error with the Chevelle’s VIN. Once the purchase was finalized, Select underwent proper protocol to correct the inaccurate VIN of the Chevelle. Eventually, on August 4, 2004, the DPSC issued a Certificate of Title to Select, which included the correct VIN of the Chevelle. At this point, Select possessed valid title to the vehicle and placed it in the dealership for sale.

Mrs. Hearod was interested in buying an antique car for her teenage daughter who was about to enter college. Thus, on or about August 16, 2004, she visited Select and purchased the 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle. Mrs. Hearod paid $32,938.20 for the vehicle, which included tax, title, license, and an extended warranty.

As it is customary with the purchase of any car, Select completed the registration process for a temporary tag on behalf of Mrs. Hearod to allow her to legally drive her newly purchased car while she waited for the license plate to arrive.

However, while Mrs. Hearod was waiting for her license plate, an employee from the DPSC contacted Select and informed them that the issuance of the title was placed on hold due to discrepancies involving the VIN of the Chevelle. Select apprised Mrs. Hearod of the problem existing with the issuance of the title and rapidly applied for a second temporary tag for Mrs. Hearod to allow her to use the vehicle, while the discrepancies in the title were corrected.

However, after the expiration date of the second temporary tag, the problem with the title had not been resolved. As a consequence, Mrs. Hearod was unable to drive the car any longer because without a valid title she was unable to insure the car nor acquire a license plate. Therefore, in an effort to expedite the issuance of the title for Mrs. Hearod, Select interposed a petition for a Writ of Mandamus, whereby it prayed the court to order the DPSC to issue a title in Mrs. Hearod’s name. The trial court ordered the DPSC to issue the said title. The DPSC appealed the trial court’s judgment to this court, and we affirmed the judgment.

Select Motor Co., Inc. v. State of Louisiana, through Department of Public Safety and Corrections, 05-1277 (La.App. 3 Cir. 4/5/06), 927 So.2d 604.

In the meantime, Mrs. Hearod filed suit against Select alleging a redhibitory defect. While the parties were awaiting trial, a title in Mrs. Hearod’s name was finally issued. The trial court ruled in favor of Select, concluding that a defect did not exist in this case, and even if it did, “Select did everything in its power to correct the defect.”

Mrs. Hearod contends that the trial court erred in finding that a defect in the vehicle did not exist at the time of sale when Select was not able to provide a title to the vehicle for a period of two years.