November 29, 2022

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False Hertz arrest lawsuit: 47 customers sue a car rental company, alleging false arrest

False Hertz arrest lawsuit: 47 customers sue a car rental company, alleging false arrest
Delaware – Forty-seven Hertz customers have sued the rental company describing horror stories after they allegedly stole their rental cars, and in some cases were imprisoned, CNN reported.

Prosecutors claim they blinded their side with arrests – sometimes at gunpoint – and in some cases spending time in prison. Some plaintiffs describe losing their jobs in the fallout from the arrests.

The lawsuit alleges systemic flaws in Hertz’s reporting of thefts, including failure to record rental extensions, falsely claiming customers did not pay, failure to track its vehicle inventory, and failure to correct false police reports. The lawsuit was filed in Delaware Supreme Court and comes on the heels of a court ruling that these cases can be pursued outside bankruptcy court. (Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 before appearing in July 2021.)

Hertz said in a statement that it did not agree with the ruling allowing cases to be pursued outside bankruptcy court, and that it was committed to “doing the right thing by our clients.”

“We review and consider each claim against Hertz based on its individual merits,” Hertz spokesman Jonathan Stern said. “We have begun making settlement offers to dozens of claimants and will continue to do so on a case-by-case basis.”

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Hertz CEO Stephen Sher admitted in April that “several hundred people” were affected by the company’s mistakes.

Some plaintiffs say they were using Hertz rentals to make a living driving for Uber or Lyft, or to move their families. One plaintiff, Bianca DeLoach, described being attacked by police with her guns drawn at a gas station in March 2021 while her children watched from inside the rent she had paid. The complaint says DeLoach spent nine nights in prison. The charges were dismissed months later.

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Another plaintiff, Mary Lindsey Flannery, said she was in a car she rented from Hertz in 2020 when police stopped her and told her the car was stolen. The complaint claimed that the car had been impounded. Flannery was unable to obtain an explanation from Hertz despite repeated attempts. She was arrested weeks later, leaving her daughter alone without a parent because her father was posted abroad, according to the complaint.

The complaint says that Flannery had three panic attacks while in prison, was physically attacked by his cellmates and was bitten by bed bugs.

The criminal case against Flannery was dismissed and she was released after 14 days.

The complaint alleges that James Tolen was driving a Hertz rental car in Houston in December 2020 when he was stopped and asked to open his door.

The complaint stated: “When he opened the door, at least 4 officers pointed their rifles at him. They forced him to lift his shirt, then patted him and tied him to the back of a squad car.” It was humiliating and terrifying.”

Police later called Hertz and learned that the car was not stolen – Hertz reported the car stolen months before it was rented to Tolen’s partner at the time, the complaint says.

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The complaint says Reginald Brown, who was driving a car he rented from Hertz for Lyft, was imprisoned overnight and lost his full-time job during his trial. The complaint says that the case against him was dismissed after nearly two years.

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Lyft and Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Darnay Tapper spent two nights in prison last year after he was stopped by eight police cars in March 2021 while driving Hertz cars and was held at gunpoint, according to the complaint. The complaint says Taber, who suffers from a heart condition, was denied access to his medication while in prison. The complaint alleged that the case against Tapper was dismissed months later after Hertz failed to attend a preliminary hearing.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner company. All rights reserved.)