[Re: “Das Boot,” August 25]
To Ted Kleine:
I represented a disabled veteran recently. His tale of woe was interesting–he bought a used car and had to go out of town right after he bought it. He didn’t have time to take the old plates off it. On his return the car was gone. It had been booted and towed. He was told to go to a pound to get the vehicle. He went and was told that there were other charges that had to be paid, specifically old tickets of the former owner. So he went before the boot hearing officer and was told that he had “no standing” to contest any of those old tickets (of the prior owner)–that title had passed was irrelevant and, in fact, he had no standing to even be in court. Several months later, he came to see me and I spent about six months trying to obtain a transcript of the “nonhearing.” Finally, the city sent me one and I filed a mandamus action against the city treasurer and the Department of Revenue. Judge Jaffe denied the city’s motion to dismiss (which argued that even though its official told my client he had no rights, since he did, he should have exercised them within 30 days of the nonhearing hearing) and the matter was remanded for a hearing on whether the former owner’s tickets could be held against my client. The hearing officer thereafter ruled they could not and the city must now repay my client about $2,700. So there are some ways out but all very difficult.