Goleta’s Robert Bjorklund won a procedural victory in court this week when Judge Colleen Sterne ruled his fraud case against Smitty’s Towing could proceed. Bjorklund’s truck was stolen last September. When the CHP found it on private land — wheels removed and perched on wooden blocks — Smitty’s was dispatched to retrieve it. According to the complaint, Smitty’s dragged the truck for more than a mile through the brush with a tractor before loading it onto a flatbed. When Bjorklund went to retrieve his stolen — and now damaged — truck, Smitty’s presented a bill for $4,485.
Bjorklund claims he was coerced by Smitty’s to transfer the title of his truck to the towing company and claims Smitty’s should have allowed him to find replacement wheels before his truck was retrieved. He also claims he should have been given the opportunity to file a claim with his insurance carrier. Attorneys for Smitty’s, which has a contract with the CHP, objected that Bjorklund’s claims had not been made with sufficient specificity to meet the legal requirements of fraud. Although Judge Sterne did strike some of Bjorklund’s claims, she allowed the bulk of his complaint to proceed.