DETROIT – A class action lawsuit was filed Thursday against Breakthrough Towing, as well as its new alter-ego, Magic Towing.
The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge Avern Cohn in the United States Court for the Eastern District. The complaint alleges that Breakthrough Towing engages in illegal and rogue towing practices, typically charging in excess of $400 in cash for customers of local businesses in Detroit and Hamtramck to get their vehicles back.
The complaint, in addition to the allegations against Breakthrough Towing, claims that the City of Detroit, City of Hamtramck, and their police officers have accepted incentives and/or have otherwise allowed Breakthrough Towing to operate illegally in Detroit and Hamtramck.
There are additional claims against businesses who received kickbacks, conspired or otherwise allowed Breakthrough Towing to tow illegally from their property. These businesses include McDonald's, CVS Pharmacy, and Midtown Liquor.
Jonathan R. Marko, a well-known Detroit civil rights attorney, called the illegal towing practice “a Mafia-esque extortion racket, being perpetuated in broad daylight on innocent Detroiters. Innocent victims’ vehicles were held hostage for extortion payments. This scheme is unethical, immoral and unconstitutional.”
Attorney Hannah Fielstra, of Ernst & Marko Law commented on the lawsuit, “Breakthrough is turning local parking lots into profitable fishing holes, with the help of the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck. They target and exploit areas with residents who cannot readily afford the cash-only fees and areas where English may be a second language, charging exorbitant rates for customers to retrieve their vehicles, that often should not have been towed in the first place.”
Attorney Tony Paris added, “Breakthrough‘s days of illegal rogue towing are numbered, as are Michael Dickerson’s ransom demand cash-only scam and corporate shell game “Magic” tricks. And to the cities and their police officers that helped them break the law for so long, as well as the private companies that were on the take, it’s time to change and to pay back the victims.”