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Nearly 50 people have sued Hertz for false arrest for stealing cars

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Nearly 50 people said in a lawsuit that they had been wrongfully arrested for car theft because of a flawed rental company Hertz policy – and in some cases suffered various traumas as a result, according to CNN.

These claims were part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, but this lawsuit was filed in the Delaware District Court following a court ruling in early June that it could be removed from Hertz’s Chapter 11 lawsuit.

This is a of many legal actions in connection with an issue in recent years where plaintiffs say they legally rented cars but were subsequently arrested by police — often at gunpoint — after Hertz filed police reports, NewsNation reported.

The company says it only files police reports after cars have not been returned for a long period of time, but there are cases where Hertz errors have allegedly led to customer prosecutions, per The Los Angeles Times.

An accuser, Mary Lindsay Flannery, said she spent two weeks in jail dealing with bed bugs and physical assault from other people in her cell, but the case was later dismissed, according to the lawsuit per CNN.

This lawsuit says Hertz’s operational issues — including not keeping inventory, saying customers didn’t pay when they did, failing to improve reports to police, and failing to document reservation renewals — led them to were wrongfully arrested and imprisoned, and although charges were usually dropped, they left economic or emotional scars, the lawsuit added, according to the outlet.

In an interview in April, Hertz CEO Stephen M. Scherr said that “several hundreds” of people were “affected” by the problem of being incorrectly marked as stolen cars, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.

“It’s not acceptable for Hertz to have a customer, a single customer that gets caught up in some part of what happened,” he said.

Scherr became CEO of Hertz in late February 2022, after a difficult period for the company, where it filed for bankruptcy following the pandemic.

“It’s unfortunate that these were vehicles that were reported stolen. The theft report was withdrawn when they were found, but these people were caught, you know, at a time when that, you know, decomposition was not recognized,” Scherr added up.

Hertz’s bankruptcy procedure lasted from approximately March 2020 to June 2021. The company was able to retain most of these wrongful arrest claims with its bankruptcy proceedings — where there is no jury, Bloomberg reported.

However, in early June, a judge ruled that people outside the bankruptcy court could hold the company responsible for the wrongful arrests, the outlet reported.

Hertz told londonbusinessblog.com it intended to appeal this decision. “At the same time, we will review and consider each claim made against Hertz on its individual merits,” the statement said.

“In support of our commitment to resolve situations where customers have been harmed by our actions, we have begun expanding settlement offerings to dozens of claimants and will continue to do so on a case-by-case basis,” it added.

Other prosecutors described, according to CNN, losing a job and being denied medication while in prison. ABC News in Philadelphia broke this story in 2018and there have been several lawsuits since and settlements of Hertz.

In response to a 2019 ABC Tampa Bay Storya Hertz spokesperson said at the time, “False reports of stolen vehicles are extremely rare.”

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