The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned a district court ruling and is allowing Decorah resident Shannon Duncan to continue her court fight against the Ford Motor Credit Company and a firm which repossesses vehicles.
The legal battle goes all the way back to 2010, when Duncan fell behind on payments on a new Ford Edge SUV, but made arrangements with a Ford Motor Credit Company representative to pay off her overdue balance, which she did on November 19th of 2010. Despite the payment, Bruce Shores of Repossessors, Inc. showed up at her workplace two days later and took possession of the SUV.
Not until June of 2011 did Ford and Shores reveal the location of the SUV. When Duncan tried to retrieve the vehicle, Shores told her she would have to sign a release absolving them of liability for any wrongdoing. Eventually she recovered the vehicle without signing the release, but the SUV had been damaged and personal property was missing from inside it.
More than four years later, in December of 2015, Duncan sued Ford and Shores for civil extortion. Two weeks ago the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a District Court judge was wrong to rule that Duncan could not seek punitive damages against Ford Motor Credit Company and the repossession company. The Appeals Court ruled that “Duncan is entitled to punitive damages if she can show the defendants engaged in a ‘persistent curse of conduct’ revealing their local of care for her rights and a disregard for consequences.”
The case will now head back to Winneshiek County District Court.