Court Battles

Hertz to pay $168M in false arrest lawsuits

Rental car company Hertz on Monday announced it will pay $168 million to settle 364 customers’ claims related to the company falsely reporting they stole vehicles, which caused some customers to go to jail.

The hundreds of customers had filed various lawsuits against the company, which also owns the Dollar, Firefly and Thrifty car rental brands, with some saying they were wrongly arrested, held at gunpoint by police and thrown in jail over vehicles they never stole.

“As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first. In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective,” CEO Stephen Scherr, who previously acknowledged the false reports, said in a statement.

“While we will not always be perfect, the professionals at Hertz will continue to work every day to provide best-in-class service to the tens of millions of people we serve each year” he added. “Moving forward, it is our intention to reshape the future of our company through electrification, shared mobility and a great digital-first customer experience.”

Hertz said the settlement will resolve more than 95 percent of pending claims about the issue, adding that the company believes it will recover a “meaningful portion” of the settlement amount from insurance companies and expects to make the payment by the end of the year.

The lawsuits have piled up for months, with court documents indicating multiple customers alleged they extended their rentals, only for Hertz to file false police reports, leading to arrest warrants.

Saleema Lovelace, one of the plaintiffs, told NewsNation she was arrested in January 2021 after extending and paying for her Dollar car rental and that police charged her with a felony. NewsNation is owned by Nexstar, which also owns The Hill.

“I still have the same mark on my arm right here, where they handcuffed me and had the cuffs on me really tight,” Lovelace told NewsNation in August. “To experience something like that, and especially as a woman and a black woman with all white cops throwing you around with guns out like I’m a criminal, and it wasn’t even a stolen vehicle.”

In a separate lawsuit filed with multiple other plaintiffs who alleged similar experiences, Adam Cuevas claimed he was wrongfully pulled over by at least six officers in downtown Seattle in January 2020 for stealing a Hertz vehicle.

Cuevas, who said he was up to date with his rentals, alleged in court documents that the officers drew their guns and pointed them at him, ordering him out of the vehicle despite him legally driving the vehicle.

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