Tort Law

Family sues car dealership, says they were held at gunpoint on mistaken theft claim over BMW loaner

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An Idaho family of four has filed suit against an automobile dealership, contending that all were traumatized when they were stopped by sheriff’s officers near Coeur d’Alene and held at gunpoint, along with their dog, because of a mistaken theft report about a loaner BMW.

Casey and Sheree Bryntesen sued on behalf of themselves and their 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. They are seeking $2.2 million plus punitive damages from Lithia Motors and Camp Automotive and individual employees, as well as BMW of North America, over the June 19 stop by Kootenai County sheriff’s officers, according to the Spokesman-Review.

Attorney Dylan Jackson of Seattle is representing the Oregon-based dealership. He says a “clerical error” resulted in a mistaken theft report by the dealership that led to the Bryntesens being pulled over. They had been given the BMW as a loaner while their own vehicle was in the shop being repaired.

Although paperwork concerning the loaner arrangement was completed, it wasn’t properly filed by an employee. So the dealership made a theft report to trace the missing BMW, according to Jackson and Lt. Stu Miller of the sheriff’s department.

The family knew nothing of the issue until they were pulled over en route to Bible study. All cried as they tried to explain they had done nothing wrong, the newspaper says. Although the family was soon released, the car was impounded because sheriff’s officers could not immediately reach anyone at the dealership after the stop.

Lukins & Annis of Coeur d’Alene represents the Bryntesens in the case. It asserts claims for breach of contract, negligence, false arrest, defamation and violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.

The article doesn’t include any comment from BMW of North America or three individual defendants who are employees of the dealership.

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