Sanctions Denied Where Plaintiff Alleged Belongings In Her Vehicle Stolen by Towing Service

Another pro se case of interest. After a storm and serious flooding, the plaintiff had to abandon her vehicle. Her car was then towed by the defendants. Plaintiff sued them in federal court apparently because she believed the defendants stole her personal possessions out of her car.  The defendants claimed that they had been authorized to tow the car, but plaintiff challenged the veracity of their claims.

The case was eventually dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the alleged damages did not exceed $75,000. The defendants moved for sanctions on the ground that the plaintiff maintained the litigation after she knew it was baseless.

The court denied the motion for sanctions on the ground that the plaintiff did not have a bad motive and that her claims had some basis. The court explained:

Plaintiff’s filings were not made solely for the purpose of harassing these Defendants and increasing the costs of this litigation and her factual contentions did not utterly lack evidentiary support. While some of Plaintiff’s claims were not warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law, the costs to Defendants based on those claims are unclear, and seemingly negligible. Therefore, Defendants’ request for attorneys’ fees and costs is denied

Source: PRIDDLE v. MALANIS, Dist. Court, ND Illinois 2017 – Google Scholar

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