When Mary Simms awoke on March 5, 2013, she was in for a surprise. Her Dodge Durango was no longer in front of her Glen Burnie residence where she had parked it the night prior. Instead, the SUV had been repossessed by her credit union even though Ms. Simms had paid off the vehicle's note in December of 2012. When it took over two months for the credit union to return the vehicle, Ms. Simms decided to seek legal counsel.
In a lawsuit recently settled, Mary Simms alleges that State Employees Credit Union wrongfully repossessed her vehicle, then failed to return it for over two months. Further, the lawsuit alleges that SECU did not return the vehicle until May 8, 2013, one day after Ms. Simms filed a complaint with Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Ms. Simms and her attorneys at Trunnell Law alleged common-law conversion and violations of laws intended to protect consumers, including the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act. "Defendants take allegations of MCPA and MCDCA violations very seriously, because these laws provide for an award of attorneys' fees for a prevailing consumer plaintiff," says Trunnell Law attorney Matthew Skipper.
While the settlement contained the standard denial of liability, the resolution was a clear victory for the Plaintiff, Ms. Simms. "The repossession in and of itself was wrong, but taking over two months to return the vehicle was absurd," says Skipper, noting that it was only after Ms. Simms involved others that the vehicle was returned. "Sometimes the other side needs a little prodding to do the right thing."
The case is Mary Simms v. State Employees Credit Union, No.: . 0702-0005054-2014 in the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County.