"There will be no more predatory towing in the streets of San Diego," said district attorney Bonnie Dumanis at a news conference on August 21, 2006. Clark Waters shakes his head. He has now fired his second salvo in small-claims court to recover damages from an attempt this summer to tow his motor home (sandiegoreader.com/news/2009/jul/08/city-light-2/).
At his first court appearance on August 27, Waters recovered $235 from the owner of Midway Towne Center in Loma Portal. A Coastal Pride Towing company driver had collected the amount to release Waters's vehicle in the shopping center's parking lot. The judge also awarded Waters $150 because a Heritage Security Services guard allegedly cracked the motor home's side door.
On Monday, September 14, Waters filed to recover $1880 from Coastal Pride. California law states that anyone who overcharges a vehicle owner for towing "is civilly liable...for four times the amount charged." The legal rate is $90 for towing the vehicle away and half that if the vehicle is released onsite. Tow-truck drivers must release a vehicle before it is towed away if owners request to pay the release charge.
Waters is also contending that Coastal Pride did not report the reason his vehicle was being towed. For this violation, state law holds that a person "is civilly liable...for four times the amount of the towing and storage charges."