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Michigan township faces second lawsuit from towing company

A township in Michigan is the target of two separate lawsuits filed by competing towing contractors. Both companies accuse the township of breaking its business contracts. The first claim was filed in June of 2012 when Nightingale Services sued Michigan's Shelby Township for breaching their contract and denying the company due process. Four months later, Utica Van Dyke Services filed a similar lawsuit, claiming that the township dissolved a contract from 2009 and awarded it to Nightingale amidst political pressures.

Utica Van Dyke was awarded a towing contract when the township opened bidding in 2008. Nightingale Services had handled towing within Shelby Township for the previous 27 years, but never signed a contract. However, the township dissolved its contract with Utica Van Dyke after just two months, claiming that the contractor lacked the equipment needed to meet the township's need. Shelby Township then gave the contract back to Nightingale, but terminated the contract approximately one year early when the company allegedly violated some of its terms. Nightingale's lawsuit claims that this act constitutes a breach of contract.

Utica Van Dyke's claim argues that it was dismissed not because of its equipment, but rather due to pressure from Nightingale's owners, who had called for the recall of several members of the township board. The contractor contends that Shelby Township wrongfully transferred the contract to Nightingale.

"Clearly the towing companies are aggressive when it comes to these municipal bids but I'm confident in the long run, the practices for awarding bids will be upheld by the court," explained the township's attorney.

The issue could soon become further complicated, as one of Nightingale's owners is running for election as Trustee. Officials said that if he is elected, he would be involved in a lawsuit against five fellow board members and the township itself.

Source: Shelby-Utica Patch, "2nd Towing Contractor Files Lawsuit Against Shelby Township," Marina Cracchiolo, Oct. 17, 2012

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