Hertz faces lawsuit from 47 customers alleging false arrests

Hertz faces lawsuit from 47 customers alleging false arrests
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the plaintiffs they allege being caught off guard by arrests, sometimes at gunpoint, and in some cases spending time in jail. Some plaintiffs describe losing their jobs as a result of the arrests.

The lawsuit alleges systemic failures in Hertz’s theft reporting, including failing to record rental extensions, falsely claiming customers have not paid, failing to track its own vehicle inventory, and failing to correct false police reports. The lawsuit was filed in Delaware Superior Court and comes on the heels of a court ruling that these cases could be pursued outside of bankruptcy court. (Hertz had archived by failure in May 2020 before emergent in July 2021.)

Hertz said in a statement that it disagreed with the ruling that allows cases to proceed outside of bankruptcy court and that it is committed to “doing the right thing for our clients.”

“We are reviewing and considering each claim filed against Hertz on its individual merits,” Hertz spokesman Jonathan Stern said. “We have begun extending settlement offers to dozens of claimants and will continue to do so on a case-by-case basis.”

Stephen Scherr, CEO of Hertz accepted in April that “several hundred people” were affected by the company’s mistakes.

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

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

Flannery had three panic attacks while in jail, was physically attacked by cellmates and bitten by bedbugs, the complaint says.

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

James Tolen was driving a Hertz rental in Houston in December 2020 when he was pulled over and told to open the door, the complaint alleges.

“When he opened the door, at least 4 officers pointed guns at him. They forced him to lift his shirt, then frisked him and handcuffed him in the back of a patrol car,” the complaint says. “He was humiliating and terrifying.”

Police later called Hertz and learned that the car was not stolen; Hertz had reported the stolen car months before renting it to Tolen’s then-partner, the complaint says.

Reginald Brown, who was driving a car he had rented from Hertz for Lyft, was jailed overnight and lost his full-time job while he was being processed, the complaint says. The case against him was dismissed nearly two years later, the complaint says.

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

Darnay Taper spent two nights in jail last year after being pulled over in March 2021 by eight police cars while renting Hertz and held at gunpoint, according to the complaint. Taper, who has heart disease, was denied access to his medication while in jail, the complaint says. The case against Taper was dismissed months after Hertz failed to appear at a preliminary hearing, the complaint alleges.

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