Larson LLP client Pepe’s Towing Services (“Pepe’s”), a Southern California tow company that has been in business for over 40 years, is suing the city of Rancho Cucamonga for illegally favoring other tow companies and reducing Pepe’s profitability, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported.
“Disputes over towing services in the city of Rancho Cucamonga—simmering for nearly three years— have boiled over into a full-blown federal lawsuit naming the city and members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department as defendants. On Dec. 2, Pepe’s Towing Services filed an action in U.S. Central District Court alleging the city illegally terminated its towing agreement while favoring other towing companies working in the city, including one competitor whose owner won a contract because of her friendship with the Sheriff’s Department Executive Officer John Fogerty, the lawsuit alleges,” the article stated.
The city terminated Pepe’s towing contract on July 22, 2020, just days after Pepe’s complained to City Hall about the city unfairly giving more business to other tow companies and limiting Pepe’s business.
The article noted that “the lawsuit claims the city muzzled the company’s freedom of speech and that the city practiced favoritism and discrimination, thereby violating the company’s 14th Amendment rights for equal protection.”
Pepe’s reached a favorable settlement of $1.3 million in September 2020 with the city of San Bernardino in a similar lawsuit, and the towing company’s fight against municipal corruption and unjust favoritism in the cities it serves is far from over.
“We certainly hoped that a lawsuit would be unnecessary, but now that we have been forced to vindicate our rights through litigation believe that we have a strong case and will succeed at exposing the city’s improper conduct with respect to the towing contracts through discovery and at trial,” partner Stephen G. Larson, who is representing Pepe’s with partner R.C. Harlan, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Read the full article by Steve Scauzillo of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin covering the developing case here.