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A Lawsuit For the Taking: The City's Back at the Supreme Court of Texas in the Morning

While we await the Supreme Court of Texas's ruling in the city's so-called billion-dollar case later this year, let's consider another city of Dallas case going before the court at 9 a.m. sharp tomorrow: City of Dallas. v. VSC, LLC. The court will hear oral arguments in the years-old suit that has worked its way from state court to federal court to the appeals court; two years ago it became the Supreme Court's problem, after the lower courts ruled against the city. Ah, yes. Right: What's the suit about? So glad you asked.

VSC was a tow company that, back in 2002, had in its possession some 320 cars the Dallas Police Department claimed "had been reported stolen, had been involved in car-jackings, or had altered serial numbers," according to court documents filed by the Dallas City Attorney's Office. DPD went to VSC's storage facility and took the cars without compensating the tow company -- because, look, as far as DPD was concerned, they were evidence, so there.

When DPD seized and summarily disposed of the cars, that didn't go over well with VSC, which wanted some kind of compensation due to the "taking," as it's called. In short, the city's (and Office of the Solicitor General's) position is: "Fortunately 'finders keepers, losers weepers' has never been part of Texas law," in the words of City Attorney Tom Perkins. Messages have been left for VCS's attorney Jim Mosser, whose outgoing voice-mail message says his firm has "lawyers for warriors." Does that even rhyme?

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