(NewsNation) — Hertz customers who say they were wrongly arrested and accused of stealing cars they rented will get their day in court.
NewsNation previously reported on the nightmare situations that led customers to sue the rental giant last year. More than 200 customers asked a federal judge in Delaware to force Hertz to disclose records about erroneous theft reports, and the judge ruled in the renters’ favor in February.
Now more than 100 customers are suing the rental car giant for mental and emotional damages after they say were falsely arrested and even jailed after Hertz filed police reports saying the cars they rented were stolen. A judge ruled this month that at least 89 of those cases can be pursued in state courts across the country, according to NewsNation reporter Rich McHugh.
“The cases that we’ve been covering certainly are not the fault of the customer,” said McHugh said on “Morning in America.” “These customers have been vindicated in courts, and in these cases and been proven to be not negligent.”
The customers say the cars were legitimately rented and many have had the charges removed, but not before spending time in jail in some cases, including that of Julius Burnside.
Burnside is part of one of the lawsuits against Hertz.
“I felt it was a joke..like you you’re telling me I got a warrant for my arrest for something I paid for. That’s not possible,” Burnside told NewsNation last year.
According to the lawsuit, Burnside was released but then missed a court date, which resulted in his re-arrest and detention.
“Several months later, I was forced to sign a plea deal to get out of jail,” Burnside said.
Eventually, a Georgia court ruled that Burnside had in fact paid for his rental and dismissed the case entirely.
“Everything was dismissed, overturned. I cry. I cry now,” Burnside said.
McHugh blames the police reports on disorganization by Hertz.
“I think what’s going on part of this is that there are outdated computer systems within Hertz. There’s just a massive organization and when they can’t find a car, it’s marked stolen. And that’s the problem,” McHugh said. “In many cases, they don’t rescind the stolen tag, and therefore it sets police out to arrest the people who are in these cars.”
The new CEO of Hertz admitted in April that customers of the rental-car giant could have been wrongly arrested and accused of stealing cars they had rented.
Stephen Scherr said the company has changed its practices to fix problems that have occurred when cars were reported stolen but the transaction was improperly recorded in Hertz’s system.
Scherr promised to “do right” by customers who have been treated unfairly in an interview with Bloomberg TV in April, and admitted publicly for the first time that some were wrongly arrested.