Appeals Court Dismisses Tow Operator's Suit Against Competing Tower, Body Shop - BodyShop Business
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Appeals Court Dismisses Tow Operator’s Suit Against Competing Tower, Body Shop

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The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by a federal judge in Chattanooga, Tenn., who "dismissed with prejudice" a suit against a Shelbyville, Tenn., towing operator filed by a competing company, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported.

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In 2008, Robert Bushnell, owner of Quality Collision and Towing, filed a federal lawsuit against Bedford County, the City of Shelbyville, its police department and Ray Brown of Ray’s Paint and Body, claiming that towing and repair jobs were steered toward one business as part of a 35-year conspiracy.

The city of Shelbyville had barred towing companies from arriving at accident scenes unsolicited, creating a "rotation schedule" that was designed to distribute customers impartially, the newspaper reported. Bushnell alleged that for roughly 35 years, Shelbyville police, the city and county "engaged in an established pattern…which has involved the purposeful routing of wrecker calls and body repair work through a single, local business known as ‘[Beech’s] Body Shop’…"

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According to the suit, the firm was previously owned by J.C. Beech and now was operating under the name "Ray’s Paint and Body," owned by Brown. The suit identified Brown as a relative of Beech who has managed the tow service for many years. However, Brown said he could not have taken part in a 35-year conspiracy because he is only 37 years old and not a relative of J.C. Beech, plus his business was not a successor to Beech’s.

The suit also accused participants in the alleged scheme of violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and engaging in racketeering, among other allegations.

The case originally was dismissed with prejudice in 2010, meaning that Bushnell was barred from bringing an action against Brown on the same claim, and the Court of Appeals upheld that decision.

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