Private business owners do not reserve the right to boot cars parked on their property, according to a new ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court.
The case dates back to 2018 when Forrest Allen sued the owner of RCC Wesley Chapel Crossing, LLC and several of its tenants in Clayton County State Court, claiming negligence, premises liability, false imprisonment, conversion, and violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Allen claimed in the lawsuit that on Feb. 8, 2018, when he parked his car in the parking lot of the shopping center, he returned to find his vehicle immobilized by a boot.
The suit also stated that Allen paid $650 to have the boot removed and that at least 250 other people had a similar fate when parking in the lot dating back to 2013.
The owners argued they had a common law right to boot the car as it was on their property.
However, nearly three years later, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed with Allen, citing that there is no state law or common law that allows for booting.
In the opinion, Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua wrote that the judges “disagree and conclude that neither the right to remove trespassing property … nor distress damage feasant supports the vehicle immobilization practice defendants engaged in here.”
WABE legal analyst Page Pate said that for any booting to occur on private property, there would need to be a city ordinance allowing it. “The Supreme Court, in this case, has basically said there is no right for a private property owner to place a boot on a car that’s been over parked on a lot,” he said.
And while the court acknowledges that there is a way to deal with overparked vehicles through the Georgia Towing law, that law does not address booting.
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