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North Van man not liable for friend’s truck being towed, tribunal rules

Civil Resolution Tribunal tosses towed trucked tussle
GettyImage towing web
You can't sue a friend for failing to prevent your vehicle from being towed from a municipal street, the BC Civil Resolution tribunal has ruled

A man attempting to sue an old acquaintance for failing to keep his truck from getting towed has had his case tossed by the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal.

According to a written ruling released Tuesday, Kazumi Tanaka flew to the United Kingdom in January 2020 and left his truck keys with Rod Marining.

Tanaka alleged that Marining had advised him to park on the street a block away from his North Vancouver home, despite No Parking signs being posted. Marining agreed to move the truck often to “keep it safe from illegal parking tickets and theft,” Tanaka claimed, but on March 20, he learned the truck had gone missing and he flew home early to recover the truck, which had been ticketed and towed.

Marining, however, told the tribunal that Tanaka had asked to crash at his house the night before flying out and leave his truck in his driveway “despite not having seen each other for several decades.” Marining told Tanaka he had parked on the street for up to two weeks with no problems but suggested he use airport parking or call the District of North Vancouver to clarify the rules, the written decision states.

Marining told Tanaka he would only move the truck if he saw that it had been ticketed and that he never promised to move it often or “guarantee the safety of the truck,” the ruling notes.

Tanaka sought an order from the Civil Resolution Tribunal demanding Marining pay up $5,000, claiming that was the cost for his time, effort and expense to recover the truck.

Both parties represented themselves and tribunal member Leah Volkers made her ruling based only on written submissions.

The dispute was a question of “bailment” the legal obligations of one party to safeguard the possessions of another party, Volkers reasoned. In a case of “he said, he said,” Tanaka had failed to prove Marining had made that promise.

“In any event, it is undisputed that [Tanaka] left the truck parked on a city street while out of the country for over two months. In this circumstance, I find it cannot be said that [Marining] held or stored the truck on [Tanaka’s] behalf. Even if the [Marining] agreed to move the truck often, they did not have possession or control of the truck while it was parked on a city street and it could have been ticketed or towed at any time. I find the applicant has not proven that the respondent had possession of the truck as a bailee,” she wrote.