Cactus Towing and Mesa have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges the city and its towing provider colluded to assure the awarding of a new contract.
The city filed its motion to dismiss Wednesday, and Cactus Towing filed Thursday in response to a suit earlier this month by Daryl’s Towing.
The city claims the case should be dismissed because Daryl’s Towing did not file a notice of claim before the lawsuit and let the one-year statute of limitations expire. Mesa’s motion also claims the city had the right to reject the bids.
Cactus Towing’s motion states that Daryl’s Towing’s "allegations demonstrate nothing more than proper actions by a competitor."
"We believe they have some fatal flaws in their lawsuit," said Kent Nicholas, an attorney for Cactus Towing.
Daryl’s Towing’s lawsuit claims Cactus attorney David Udall secretly met with deputy city attorney Joe Padilla to complain about a bid for nonemergency towing services, a bid Daryl’s Towing said it should have won.
United Road Services was the apparent winner. Daryl’s finished second and Cactus was third. After the meeting with Udall, the city threw out those bids and rebid, this time with Cactus as the recommended winner, the lawsuit claims. The City Council did not award the contract and asked for new submittals, which are still under review.
Daryl’s Towing general manager Chad Gammage said "it doesn’t surprise me that they did this."
In addition to this lawsuit, Cactus Towing is being investigated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of criminal operations, and Mesa is being investigated by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for its handling of the towing contract.
During a court hearing Thursday, Daryl’s Towing was granted its request for a new judge. The new judge will rule on the lawsuit’s request for an injunction to stop the awarding of the new city towing contract, as well as on the two motions to dismiss.