Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Halajian v. D&B Towing (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 4, 2012)

Someone's suing a towing company.  Which evokes two emotions.  First, like probably most people, I don't especially like towing companies.  So some natural pro-plaintiff sympathy there.  But second, as someone who reads (and hears) a lot of cases, I understand that towing companies get sued a lot.  Partly due to the first emotion:  because people hate towing companies, they also sue 'em, even (at times) when the claims are silly.

But, nonetheless, I'm still somewhat sympathetic to claims that a car's been towed illegally.  If it's a valid claim, I'm more than happy to hear it.

So, on the one side of this dispute, we have a towing company.  And, on the other, and individual.  It's pretty clear where one's emotive sympathy might ordinarily lie.

But then you read on.  At which point you learn that the plaintiff, Barry Halajian, got his car towed after being stopped by the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.  You learn that Mr. Halajian did not have a driver's license.  That the light truck that he was stopped in (and that was impounded) wasn't registered.  And that the reason that no such licenses exist is because Barry's pretty certain that as a "free inhabitant of the California Republic" he's not required to have any of these documents before he exercises his constitutional right under the Articles of Confederation (!) and other principles to drive along the highways and byways our Our Great Nation.

In short, that while the towing company might not be that sympathetic, neither is the plaintiff.  Who represents himself, both below and on appeal, pro per.

You'll be shocked -- shocked -- to learn that Mr. Halajian doesn't prevail on his claim that he's got a right to drive without registering his car or getting a driver's license.  And that, accordingly, it's okay to impound a vehicle driven under circumstances similar to those here.

I know the "sovereign citizen" movement will view this opinion as yet another blow struck by the California Court of Appeal against liberty.  But it seems pretty darn reasonable to me.