Alpha, LLC v. Dartt – 6/27/2013

July 1, 2013

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds that Towing Company Had No Constitutionally Protected Property Interest to Remain on Police Towing Rotation List

The Town of Camp Verde maintained a list of towing companies that would be contacted on a rotating basis to tow abandoned, damaged, or illegally parked vehicles.  Alpha, a towing company, was on that list.  Camp Verde indefinitely removed Alpha from the list after complaints and violations of the towing regulations.  Alpha sued Camp Verde officials, alleging that the removal violated Alpha’s constitutional due process and other rights.  The Superior Court granted Camp Verde’s motion for partial summary judgment; Alpha appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Alpha had no constitutionally protected property interest in remaining on the towing rotation list.  It reached this holding because the towing regulations are municipal regulations (as opposed to ordinances) that do not have the force and effect of law.  In addition, they are subject to modification and even abandonment at the discretion of the Marshal’s office.

The Court of Appeals recognized that in some jurisdictions towing companies have a property interest because the towing rotation lists are legislative enactments.  In most jurisdictions without legislative enactments, such as Camp Verde, the towing companies have no such property interest.

Judge Downie authored the opinion.  Judges Gould and Orozco concurred.