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Power lines that fell across the car had to be removed, and Busy Bee Auto Parts & Towing was called to remove the vehicle.
A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge had dismissed a lawsuit in November 2016, and Gilliam’s attorney appealed the decision. The case was moved to Dayton’s U.S. District Court, where a judge dismissed federal claims and returned the case to common pleas.
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“We have scoured both Ohio law and the case law of jurisdictions across the country and have found no authority suggesting that a tow-truck driver who has been called by police to tow a vehicle has a general duty to inspect the inside of the vehicle before towing it,” Judge Michael T. Hall wrote in his decision. “This isn’t to say that a duty to inspect cannot exist in certain situations.
“In our opinion, there may be particular circumstances in which a duty to inspect does exists. It could be that the driver had in fact observed that Gilliam was still in the car, or that the driver was informed there was someone in the car.”
The appellate court did rule that claims against Busy Bee could go forward.
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