$5 million suit filed over 1/2 tank of gas

A woman is suing a Detroit financial services company for more than $5 million for keeping a half tank of gas from her car when it was repossessed.

2008 Pontiac G6

Victoria Jean Church-Dellinger filed a $5 million class-action suit in federal court against Ally Financial Inc. for keeping the half a tank's worth of gas in her 2008 Pontiac G6 when it was repossessed.

"It's the same as if you left your jacket in there and they didn't return it to you," Brian Parker, her Bingham Farms attorney, said in an interview. "You can't take someone's coat or fuzzy dice, and you have to return the gas."

Church-Dellinger, 43, wants more than $5 million, which represents three times the fair market value of all gasoline taken from Michigan residents by the Detroit-based automotive financial services company over the last six years, according to the suit. She also wants the Detroit-based auto lender, which is majority-owned by the U.S. government, to return all gasoline seized during that time or pay fair market value.

And she wants Ally in the future to give owners whose vehicles are repossessed credit for gasoline left in the tank.

There was no comment from an Ally spokeswoman.

The lawsuit comes amid concerns gasoline could soon top $4 a gallon. Gas prices are averaging $3.65 a gallon in the state, up 34 cents from a year earlier, according to AAA Michigan.

Parker said he believes this is the first such lawsuit to be filed. He insists he is serious, though he acknowledges people may snicker at the legal attempt.

"Everybody I've told this to says: 'That's stup … wait a minute, that's genius,'" Parker said.



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