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Massachusetts Secured Repairman’s lien – M.G.L. ch. 255, § 25

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If a towing company takes your vehicle in an involuntary tow, and they’ve made contact with you, but still have possession of your vehicle, they have several options.

This sometimes happens when the customer has reached out to the towing company to dispute the bill. And of course the bill keeps going up as the storage charges increase daily.

The law caps the maximum amount the towing company can charge. By statute, they are not allowed to collect for more than the value of the vehicle.  And then they have to take you to Court.

Read this Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case out of the Massachusetts Western District. The Judge made clear rulings on the procedure to be followed.

In re: ARLYNN S. HENDERSON, SR., ANN M. HENDERSON, Debtors – Case No. 08-30684-HJB


“The Court has previously determined that DTR holds a secured repairman’s lien under M.G.L. ch. 255, § 25 (“§ 25″ or “Section 25″), which provides:

. . . [P]ersons engaged in performing work upon or in connection with the
inspection, reconditioning and repairing of motor vehicles shall have a lien upon such motor vehicles for proper charges due them for the storage, work and care of the same. M.G.L. ch. 255, § 25 (emphasis added).

A repairman with a lien on a vehicle has two options: (1) the lienholder can bring suit against the owner for a sale of the vehicle to satisfy the lien, see M.G.L. ch. 255, § 26 or (2) the lienholder can retain the vehicle, see M.G.L. ch. 255, § 31 until the owner dissolves the lien by posting bond or paying the amount due, see Gilman v. Zirkin, 164 N.E.2d 373, 374, 265 Mass. 372 (1928) (lien may be discharged by valid tender of amount due, or by posting bond under M.G.L. ch. 255, §§ 33, 34).

If the lienholder chooses the first course and successfully sues for a sale of the vehicle to satisfy the lien, attorney’s fees may be recovered from the proceeds of that sale. This process is provided for by M.G.L. ch. 255, § 29 (“§ 29″ or “Section 29″), which provides:

If, upon a default or a trial it is found that a lien exists upon the property and that the property ought to be sold for the satisfaction fo the debt, the court may make an order for such sale, determine and record the amount then due and award costs to the prevailing party. Any proceeds of the sale remaining after satisfying the debt, costs and charges, shall be paid to the owner upon demand. M.G.L. ch. 255, § 29 (emphasis added).”

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