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Orange County car dealership faces lawsuit for reporting loaned out car as stolen

Costa Mesa family sues car dealership for reporting loaned out car as stolen
Costa Mesa family sues car dealership for reporting loaned out car as stolen 02:52

A Costa Mesa man is suing an Orange County car dealership after a paperwork mishap resulted in the high school athletic trainer being detained at gunpoint, according to the lawsuit.

In June 2021, Jamie Rodgers was driving on the CA-73 toll road when the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force stopped his loaner SUV. Rodgers was on his way to work as a high school athletic trainer. 

During the stop, officers told the trainer that he was considered "armed and dangerous" and if he didn't follow his commands he "could be shot."

"Seeing all the guns pointed at me, I just prayed 'God, please help me through this. I need you to help,'" he said. 

Rodgers recalled that he was not only scared but also confused. He said he had "no idea what was going on" when officers pulled him over and drew their weapons. 

The task force eventually let him go. In the lawsuit filed on behalf of Rodgers and his wife Natalie, the loaner provided by Car Pros Kia of Huntington Beach was mistakenly reported as stolen. 

"What do you mean the car was stolen? We had it for two months," Natalie recalled. "It was a lot to process, and the more I did, the more the fear and worry, and anxiety set in."

The couple's attorney, Scott Harlan, said the dealership claimed to have lost the loaner paperwork, prompting them to report it stolen. 

"This incident was entirely avoidable," Harlan said. "One of the stories is that one of the paper or paperwork fell behind the cabinet. It's such a shame at how that has impacted Jamie and Natalie's life."

Since the stop nearly three years ago, Rodgers has had to switch careers, as everything, including the route to work, brings back the terrible memory. 

"It was the one-year anniversary of George Floyd, and that was on my mind," he said. "I'm thinking 'God, please let me see my family again. I do not want to be another statistic.'"

The couple, who have two young kids, said they want the dealership to take responsibility. 

"How is it so easy to lose one piece of paper and put someone's life at risk?" Natalie asked. 

The couple is suing for negligence and emotional distress but also claiming Car Pros Kia sold them a lemon. 

KCAL News contacted the dealership's attorney but has not heard back. 

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