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Lawsuit against tow operator can resume

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

A federal bankruptcy judge has agreed that a Lake Dallas woman can resume a four-year-old civil suit against a tow company operator and American Legion Post No. 88.

Sharon Shelton filed suit in 2009, claiming she suffered debilitating injuries after Carl David Snider, owner of Technician on Wheels and Two Steppin’ Towing, grabbed her and threw her to the ground outside the American Legion post in October 2007.

According to police and court records, Shelton suffered a broken leg after Snider shoved her to the ground during an argument over his refusal to pay wages to a former employee.

Snider was convicted of misdemeanor assault in December 2009 in connection with the case, although he initially was charged with a felony. In 2010, he and his wife, Patricia Snider, filed for bankruptcy. The couple faced a host of other troubles at the time, including fines from state regulators for violating state rules related to their towing business and possible losses from other lawsuits.

Reached Thursday, Snider declined to comment. His attorney, Stephen Wohr, was not available for comment.

In addition to three causes of action against Snider, the lawsuit also claims negligence on the part of the American Legion post for failing to secure the premises.

“Until my client has their day in court, or the plaintiff comes to their senses and dismisses this case, it remains unresolved,” said Neil Durrance, attorney for American Legion Post No. 88.

In 2010, David and Patricia Snider and Two Steppin’ Towing faced up to $63,000 in fines from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees towing companies in the state. The case was the largest enforcement case of its kind in Denton County in recent years. The couple signed an agreed order that reduced the fine to $15,000. They later amended that agreement, which included a probated suspension of the company’s storage license, and then filed for bankruptcy.

State records show that about $9,742 of the fines have been paid to the state through the bankruptcy trustee. The company’s towing license is under an enforcement hold, which means they can still tow for the city of Lake Dallas, but do so under state supervision, according to Capt. Wes Frazier of the Lake Dallas Police Department.

Shelton’s new attorney, Bryce King, said his client didn’t know that her case was listed improperly in Snider’s statement of financial affairs to the bankruptcy court. Court documents show Snider claimed he had settled with Shelton even though a mediator’s report clearly labeled the court-ordered session as an impasse.

Shelton’s original attorney for the case got ill and died. King took over the case and said he was able to lift the stay on the case this month after the bankruptcy court judge agreed the matter could go forward.

In the original lawsuit, Shelton seeks damages related to her injuries, including medical expenses and loss of wages. King said that justice was not served to his client, a grandmother of 11 children, by the district attorney’s office when prosecutors allowed the felony case to be pled down to a Class C misdemeanor.

The case has been moved to the 431st District Court, and a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22. King said he expects a trial date to be set at the hearing.

“Ms. Shelton looks forward to her day in court,” King said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.